Mental Illness Affects 1 in 5 Families

Mental Illness Affects 1 in 5 Families

Mental illness is so prevalent in the U.S. that we now have a reduced life expectancy as a result of 2 specific causes, and the pandemic is only making things worse. Dr. Ken Duckworth, the chief medical officer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), joins Dr. H to talk about how his organization helps those with bipolar disorder, PTSD, OCD, schizophrenia, depression, thoughts of suicide, and other conditions.

Looking for help? Learn about NAMI by clicking HERE.

Is there a topic you’d like Dr. Hallowell to explore in a podcast? Write an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected].

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

Share:
This Teen Is Harnessing His ADHD Superpowers

This Teen Is Harnessing His ADHD Superpowers

Akira is a 15-year-old ADHDer from Japan who just started his own YouTube channel in the hopes of becoming an “influencer.”  Akira shares how he’s harnessing his ADHD superpowers of creativity and hyperfocus to bring his dream to life.

Akira’s website: LilBitALife.com

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

Share:
Our Pets Get Stressed Out Too

Our Pets Get Stressed Out Too

Humans aren’t the only ones feeling anxiety and stress as a result of the pandemic. Our pets are too! And if you’ve been working from home for the past few months, it’s possible that your dog or other animal could develop separation anxiety when you return to work.

Veterinarian Dr. Sarah Silcox joins Ned for a conversation about the promising benefits CBD is showing in animals for conditions like anxiety, chronic pain and epilepsy. Dr. Silcox also reminds you to check with your pets’ vet before giving them anything!

Share your thoughts with us at [email protected]

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell, and welcome to Distraction. Today, I am welcoming a guest, and you could guess all day long, and you would not guess what she does, a really unique niche in the helping profession. She’s in my favorite helping profession, namely, she’s a veterinarian. But she has a very special niche in the world of veterinarians aside from being a general veterinarian and treating dogs and cats and whatnot. She is the president of the Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine. Isn’t that something? I asked her, how many members does it have? Expecting her to say about four, 350 Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine.

And in addition, she’s the owner of Greenwood Veterinary House Call Services, which sounds like angels of mercy. They make housecall for hospice and palliative care to these little dogs and cats, and I suppose birds, I don’t know. But in any case, the idea of going in and delivering palliative care, being a dog lover myself, I know how much that must mean to the patients or clients, whatever she calls them. In any case, but I won’t keep talking. I want to welcome, I think, the most unique guest we’ve ever had on Distraction, Dr. Sarah Silcox, who comes to us from just East of Toronto in Canada. Dr. Silcox, welcome to Distraction.

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

Thank you so, so much. I’m speechless after that introduction. Thank you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, I’m speechless to have met you. Really, you could have knocked me over with a feather. How long have you been doing this cannabinoid medicine for pets?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

So the association was founded… We just celebrated our third anniversary. So we founded in June of 2017, which was just more than a year before Canadian legalized cannabis for not only medical use, which had been legalized for some time, but also for non-medical or recreational use.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And why would someone give their pet CBD?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

I think, much like on the human side of things, CBD has been touted as a bit of a cure all. And I think that’s one of the things that we work to really clarify is that it’s not snake oil, there’s a solid basis to how it works from a medical perspective.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

That’s for sure.

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

But on the same token, it’s also not a cure all, it’s a very specific medicine that’s going to work for different conditions, and in different patients it works a little bit differently. But the most common things that pet families are telling us that they’re choosing to use it for include things like chronic pain, anxieties, behavioral disorders, general inflammation, skin conditions, trouble sleeping. So there’s really a broad range. And that’s understandable once we start to understand how CBD and other cannabinoids work in the body, that it’s able to treat a whole range of different problems potentially. We’re still waiting on some of those published studies to come out.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Interestingly enough, our sponsor, OmegaBrite, makes a CBD product specifically for dogs. Have you heard of OmegaBrite? It’s a wonderful American company. They started off with fish oil and Omega-3 fatty acids supplements, and then they just came out with their CBD supplement for humans and they also have one for dogs.

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

Humans, and then they’ve expanded that into the pet world as well. And I think we’re seeing a lot more of that in the US compared to Canada. Because in Canada, our regulations are a little bit different. So even though it’s technically legal, it’s only legally available through certain regulated channels. And as of yet that hasn’t included a market specifically for pets. In Canada, people are either purchasing a product sold outside that legal pathway that are pet specific, or they’re purchasing legal products intended for human consumption and then giving them to their animals.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, since most of our listeners are in the United States, although they actually are around the world, but for our listeners, if they wanted to get CBD for their dog or other pet, they could just go to omegaBritewellness.com, and there it would be. So why would they do that? You mentioned anxiety. How can you tell if your dog or cat is anxious?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

Well, I think there’s a wide range of things that can cause anxiety. We have situational anxiety. So sometimes it’s just a short term thing like thunderstorm, or a trip to the vets or the groomers. And other times we’re dealing with more generalized anxiety, and behavioral disorders, and separation anxiety, which funny enough is getting a lot of attention as in certain areas, maybe not in some of the states, but certainly here in Ontario, we’re starting to get some opening up of the economy and opening up of the restrictions that have been in place for the last several months. Our pets have gotten very used to us being around. And so, one of the concerns is, is that when we all start going back to work and resuming our more normal routines, how are our pets going to be affected? And for some pets, they may struggle with some separation anxiety.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

What a great point. I hadn’t thought of that. What a great… And of course they would. Of course, they would, they feel abandoned and anxious.

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

The cats on the other hand will probably be celebrating, “Thank goodness the humans are gone.” But our dogs, I think, a lot of them have really come to enjoy us being around a lot more.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, I’m a dog person, not a cat person, but I do appreciate the feline independence, but I’m drawn to the canine affection. But that’s such a good point, Sarah, that when we’ve been with them all the time and then we leave them, and of course they’ll be sad. I can see your dog standing at the door waiting for us to get home.

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

Exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And you said pain is, so if they have arthritic hips or something like that CBD might help?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

Yeah. Chronic pain is probably the number one reason that people have looked to cannabis-based therapies, both for themselves as well as their pets. But it’s also one of the ones that’s been looked at most commonly in our published studies. So we now have a few published studies that have looked specifically at using high CBD cannabis products for the treatment of arthritic pain in dogs. We also have a published study that’s looked at the use of CBD for treating epilepsy in dogs as well.

And so, all of those studies have been very positive, certainly more work still needs to be done. It’s not cut and dry, there’s always lots of confounding factors. And it’s certainly not something that I would recommend people do without consultation with your veterinarian. It is still a medicine, even though you can order it online, you don’t need to go to your veterinarian to get it, but we do want to make sure that it’s a suitable product that will maybe not missing something else, and also make sure that there’s no possible drug interactions. And that’s something a lot of people don’t consider.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

They don’t consider drug interactions?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

That’s right. So if your pet’s on other medications for chronic health problem, and you decide to add in a high CBD product, there’s the potential, and again, we’re still learning, this area is so new to us from a medical perspective, but it certainly appears that there can be the potential for some drug interactions because CBD can affect the way our body metabolizes drugs.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And also, I’m very intrigued by your Greenwood House Call Services. What are the kinds of conditions like a dog who’s dying of cancer or something?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

I mean, really it encompasses a range going anywhere from those senior patients who are just struggling a little bit more, the focus has shifted away from finding a diagnosis and finding a cure to really trying to keep that patient as comfortable as possible, up to patients who’ve been diagnosed with life limiting diseases like cancer or those who have reached end of life, and the family wants to have that end of lifetime be at home where the pet is most comfortable, and where they’re probably more comfortable as well.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Sure. And that’s the one downside of having a pet, that they die usually before you do.

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

And I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say, “Never again. I’m not going to do this, it’s too hard.” But fortunately, I think, given enough time, our hearts are able to see how much joy they brought. And in most cases, I think, families end up opening their heart to another pet.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

We’ve done it five times now. And every time it’s so hard, but-

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

It’s a testimony to how much joy they bring us when we’re willing to go through that thing all over again.

[SPONSOR BREAK]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay. For the past three months I’ve been taking a new supplement called OmegaBrite CBD, and listeners, know that brite is spelled B-R-I-T-E. So it’s OmegaBrite CBD. As I’ve mentioned before, OmegaBrite CBD was created by my good friend, Dr. Carol Locke, graduate of Harvard Medical School. And her company, OmegaBrite Wellness, they’ve been making the number one, Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years.

Well, Carol and her team decided to break new ground, having set the standard for purity, safety, and efficacy in the world of Omega-3s. And they brought that same commitment to excellence to their new CBD supplement. I take it myself. It helps me with my reactivity, my impatience, it just puts a smoother edge. In no way, is it a buzz or a high, anything like that, it’s way more subtle. But it’s a very noticeable, subtle effect, and one that I’ve come to really appreciate as I take it every day.

So, all right. Get OmegaBrite CBD online at omegabritewellness.com. And now, Distraction listeners can save 20% on their first order by using the promo code podcast 2020, that’s podcast 2020. Go to omegabritewellness.com and order OmegaBrite CBD. You’ll be glad you did just as I am.

[SPONSOR BREAK END]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

What do you have yourself?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

I have one cat named Marvin and I have a, let’s see, he’ll be 13 in the fall, a little Miniature Pinscher, and then a great big Argentinian Mastiff.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

What are their names?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

His name is Wallace, and the little one is Blackberry.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Wallace and Blackberry, that’s so adorable. Wallace, what a great name for a big dog, and Blackberry, what a great name for a little dog. And then Marvin, of course.

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

And Wallace is actually on cannabis-based therapy as well. So he gets a high CBD product every morning and every evening.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Wow. Do you have kids?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

I do not, just my furry ones.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

But a husband.

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Is he a vet as well, or is he-

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

No, he’s in corporate training. So completely different type of business. But thank goodness, he’s also an animal lover. He actually came into the relationship with Blackberry.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Oh, that’s wonderful, that’s wonderful, that’s really wonderful. And did you growing up wanting to be a vet?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

Yeah. I think when I look back through the little school day treasury books, it first hit the radar in grade two. Veterinarian was on the list of things I’d like to do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So many little girls say they want to be a vet, but you actually did it.

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

I actually did it. Well, I had an interesting background. My dad was very much an animal and nature guy, and my mum was a nurse. And so, I think I had both sides of things. So veterinary medicine seemed to be a pretty darn good fit.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And what’s the process in Canada? How do you become a vet?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

In Canada, so way back when I went through, you had to have a minimum of one year of general science, and then applied into the veterinary program, if accepted, there was then a pre-vet year and then a four year veterinary program. They’ve changed it up a little bit since then. So now it’s a two years and you write your MCATs and go through the application process, and then a four year program.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

You take the medical college admission test?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

They do now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Just as if you were applying to medical school?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Wow. So you have to have a college degree and then take the MCAT, and then four, five-

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

So it’s a minimum of two years of science or equivalent, I believe, now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

To get in? And then that school is four years just like medical school?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

That’s right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Wow. And then do you specialize-

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

We’ve got a lot more species to cover.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah, you sure do. So do you get trained in all the species?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

We do. I believe that there are some veterinary schools now that are starting to stream a little bit, but generally speaking, most veterinarians have received training in both large and small animal. And then as they progress through the course and get into that final year, their elective courses can focus more heavily on the area that they feel like they’re going to pursue. And so certainly all of my electives were small animals.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

But nonetheless, you were exposed to how do you deliver a horse, or how do you take care of the pregnant cow. Do you get trained on how to take care of a snake?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

Briefly, yes. And birds and fish. I was actually going through the garage last week and found a whole bunch of boxes with my old notes in there, and I’m like, wow, we had a lot of lectures on fish that I don’t remember.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Fish, really? Wow.

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And what about birds?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

So we do the full gamut. And circling back to today’s topic, it’s really interesting to see some of the science that’s coming out as we start to look at how CBD and other cannabinoids influence other species as well.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Really. Have you taken care of parents?

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

Parents or parrots?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Both. Obviously, parents, but-

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

Parents, not so much-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Not so much.

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

… But aging parents, yes. And both my parents, I also push to have them on medical cannabis therapy as they approached senior years and end of life, my mom still gets hers regularly. She has both dementia and arthritis and it helps to level out both of those, I think.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

That’s wonderful. Well, you sound like a dream come true of a veterinarian. I wish I lived near you and you could take care of our animals. You obviously found your calling. It’s wonderful. And you’re a pioneer, you’re breaking new ground, you’re staying young, that’s also impressive.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Dr. Sarah Silcox, founding director and current president of the Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine, and owner of Greenwood Veterinary House Call Services. What an angel of animals you are for sure. I can’t thank you enough for joining us.

Dr. Sarah Silcox:

Oh, you’re very welcome. Thank you so much for having me on and introducing your audience to some of the potential uses for those CBD products in pets.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Thank you indeed. What a unique and wonderful guest you’ve been. Thank you so much for joining us.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Now, I just have to read some credits. Please, listeners, reach out to us with your questions, comments, and show ideas, and we really do love getting them, by sending an email to mailto:[email protected]. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media, our recording engineer and editor is Scott Persson, and our producer is Sarah Guertin. I’m DR. Ned Hallowell, your host, saying goodbye, until next time.

The episode you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one, Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

Share:
Should Ned Stick to What He Knows?

Should Ned Stick to What He Knows?

Should Dr. H avoid talking about politics, money, religion, sex and other non-ADHD topics on this podcast?

Ned reacts to an email he received from a listener who said he should stick to talking about ADHD in this podcast and reaches out to listeners for feedback.

What do you think? Share your thoughts with us at [email protected]

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by Omega Brite CBD, formulated by Omega Brite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Omega Brite CBD, safe, third party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell, and welcome to a mini episode of Distraction. As you know, during this period of COVID, each week we release a mini episode that in some way pertains to the experience we’re all sharing as we live through this unique period in our lives. And unique it certainly is. I wanted to reflect on an email that I was sent, but let me preface it by saying when I was growing up, and I grew up in a very Waspy family, where being polite was de rigueur, I was explicitly told and certainly implicitly told to stay away from certain topics in conversation, and those topics included politics, religion, money, and sex.

I can still remember watching my father shave one day. I must have been six years old. And I asked him, because I had just learned this word, “Dad, what is your salary?” And he looked down at me as if I had just uttered the worst curse word you could ever imagine. He said, “Ned, never, ever ask anyone that question.” And I got the strong message that talking about money, certainly in a personal way, like how much do you have, was completely off limits. And there are other instances where I got the same message regarding politics, religion, and as for sex, that was just so out of the question, unless the people in the room had been doing what they usually were doing, which was drinking, in which case sex would come up very easily.

In any case over the years, I’ve turned that advice in my mind over and over, and I’ve really decided it’s terrible advice. It’s good advice if you want to not make any waves, if you want to avoid conflict, if you want to be as bland as you can possibly be. Then yes, don’t bring those up, and for that matter, don’t bring up much of anything. Just talk about the weather and ask the other person to talk about themselves, and you’ll be safe. But of course that’s not my way. Having ADHD, I like to branch out, reach out, inquire, probe and try to find out what’s going on. And that’s what I encourage other people to do.

Well, I must have strayed beyond the boundaries of people expect. In one episode, I opined not overtly politically, but one listener took umbrage to what I said. It was not an opinion as much as it was, I guess, a intimation, but he emailed me and he said, “Dr. Hallowell, I enjoy your podcast, but stick to ADHD. If you go into politics, you’ll offend people, you’ll lose your listenership. We don’t like it. We don’t want it. So just keep that to yourself.” And I’ve been wondering, do all of you feel that way? I’d love to hear from you. Do you all want me to just keep this very G-rated and very conflict free and free of anything that I’m not a licensed professional to talk about?

I mean, I would much rather have an ongoing dialogue with you and it is certainly true, I will never turn this show into a Fox News versus MSNBC contest. I wouldn’t want that. I mean, I think you listen to this to get away from that. So I don’t want to join the haranguing and join the venting, and join the angry discourse that you can hear altogether too easily. And I do try to be a unifier. I do try to be a connector. But to me, that allows there to be availability of all points of view, listening to all points of view, honoring, as we say in my religion, to respect the dignity of every human being. That’s what I’d like to try to do and not to avoid hot topics, but rather cool them down by airing them out. You can cool them down by airing them out in a way that makes each point of view intelligent, responsible, and discussable.

To me, the minute you say something can’t be talked about, you give it power that it ought not to have. When a thing becomes forbidden, it takes on a secret power that tends to distort it and magnify it, intensify it in a radioactive kind of way. I’d like to get guidance from you all on this. So please email me, email us [email protected]podcast.com, and tell me, do you want me just to stick to the G-rated discussions about ADHD, which I certainly love to do, or do you like it if I go off that topic and get into politics, religion, money, and sex, and any other topic you might like me to bring up, like dogs and meatloaf, two of my favorites that are not on the beaten path? Let me know, give me guidance. Let me know if that man who wrote to me speaks for most of you, or if he speaks for a minority of you.

And let me thank that man. I’m not naming you at all and I don’t want to single you out in a negative way. I appreciate your giving me your point of view. You were trying to help me. You said I’ll lose my audience if I don’t stick to what I’m licensed to talk about, and instead if I offer my various thoughts, feelings, and ideas on other topics of human existence. As always, thank you so very much for joining us. We depend upon you. We need you. We want you. Please tell your friends about us, as we’re trying to grow and build a community of interesting and congenial listeners. And if you’re not congenial, that’s okay too. You can be whoever you want to be.

Before I say goodbye, I’d like to remind you to check out Omega Brite CBD. I have been taking this CBD supplement for three months now, and feel very much more calm because of it, not calm in a zonked out kind of way, but calm in an equanimous kind of way. Equanimity, Osler said, was the great goal of the physician. Equanimity is a wonderful state to achieve, and Omega Brite CBD helps me achieve equanimity. You can buy Omega Brite CBD online at omegabritewellness.com. And remember, brite is spelled B-R-I-T-E. Omega, O-M-E-G-A, B-R-I-T-E wellness.com. Distraction listeners should use the promo code podcast2020 to save 20% off their first order, podcast2020. Omega Brite CBD, safe, third party tested, and it works.

Remember, if you have a question, comment or show idea, we want to hear from you. Question, comment, show idea, or recipe for meatloaf, we want to hear from you. Send us an email at [email protected]. That’s [email protected] Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the amazingly talented Sarah Guertin, and our recording engineer and editor is the almost as amazingly talented Scott Persson,  and I’ll catch hell for that. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you so much for listening.

The episode you’ve just heard was sponsored by Omega Brite CBD, formulated by Omega Brite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Omega Brite CBD, safe, third party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

Share:
Dr. H Answers Your ADHD Questions

Dr. H Answers Your ADHD Questions

Our host responds to listener emails this week about ADHD and…  medication and addiction, anxiety issues, sensory processing disorder symptoms, OCD and the pandemic, and more.

Thank you to all of our listeners who sent in an email! A special shout out goes to awesome Distraction listener, Gray, who shared his thoughts with us in a voice memo!

If you have a question, comment or show idea we want to hear from you! Write an email, or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected]

Dr. Hallowell’s books mentioned in this episode:

Delivered from Distraction

Driven to Distraction

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega 3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD. Safe third party tested, and it works. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Hello and welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you so very much for joining me. We have a growing audience and we hope it continues to grow. Please tell your friends about us, assuming you like what we’re doing. Today’s show we’ll be doing one of my favorite episodes, responding to your emails and questions. If you listen to these questions and enjoy them, please send us your questions. As we normally do in these episodes, my producer, the inestimably wonderful, Sarah Guertin will read to me your emails so I can respond. Without further ado, let me invite Sarah to read me the first email.

Sarah Guertin:

Hey. Happy to be here. All right. This first email says, “Hi, Dr. Hallowell. My son was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD in September. He also has sensory processing disorder, but now I’m wondering what he truly has since his symptoms are very similar between SPD and ADHD. Since learning this, I’ve read eight books and changed his school. While he is better, I want to be sure to give him all the support and resources for him to navigate well through life’s journey. I struggled to know how to best help him in what he really needs. He has had three years of occupational therapy, but we’ve hit a wall. What is the best way to get them on a path of treatment that is right for him? He is attending a school for kids with learning differences though I’m not sure I can afford to keep him there as I’m a single self-employed mom. He’s a happy, amazing kid aside from the struggles he faces with the differences, but I don’t want to make things worse. I love your podcast. It has helped me understand and sometimes given me ideas. Any advice for the bumbling parent? LB.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, LB, first of all, you’re anything but bumbling. Any parent who reads eight books and changes the school and paying a tuition she can barely afford, I’d say is anything but bumbling. I would say you’re a candidate for mother of the year. As for your son’s problem, you didn’t mention medication. You said he’s had occupational therapy for the sensory processing disorder, I assume, but I didn’t see any mention of medication. Sensory processing disorder by the way is not the one I would put at the top of the list in terms of ease of helping to improve. You want to make sure you really go after the ADHD. Often the SPD, the sensory processing disorder, will follow. You’ve been doing the OT, the occupational therapy. You’ve kind of nailed that one. You said, “We’ve hit a wall.” I’m not sure what you meant by that.

I can guess he’s stalling out. He’s not doing well. The three hallmarks of the treatment of ADHD are number one, education. You want to know what it is and what it isn’t. I’d recommend my book Delivered from Distraction, which came out in 2005, but the information in it is still current. I’ll have a new book for you in 2021, but as of now Delivered from Distraction. Read that so you really understand what ADHD is and what it isn’t. For example, it is not a deficit of attention. It’s an abundance of attention. Simply need to control it. I don’t see it as a disorder. I see it as a trait. It can become a disorder or it can become a superpower depending upon how you manage it. You begin with education and letting your son know that he’s got a race car for a brain, a Ferrari for a brain, but the problem is he has bicycle brakes. We need to somehow strengthen the brakes.

You want to get him in a good frame of mind so he doesn’t feel like he’s being fixed. So he doesn’t feel like he’s being remediated. So he doesn’t feel like he’s fundamentally defective, which is what the term ADHD implies. Instead, tell him he’s got a Ferrari engine with bicycle brakes. There are many ways of strengthening those brakes. As I say, you start with education. Then a trial of medication makes a lot of sense, unless it goes against your brain for some reason. Most parents say, I don’t want to use medication, but they don’t really know why they don’t want to use medication. Their reasons are rooted in wrong information or lack of information or both. Talk with your doctor. I would recommend a trial of medication. Remember, a trial of medication is just that. It’s a trial.

If it does anything you don’t like… If he turns purple, you just stopped the meds. He’ll go back to his original color. You don’t want to proceed as if it were a permanent intervention. If it works and by work I mean he gets improved focus, improved control over his engine with no side effects, other than appetite suppression, without unwanted weight loss. If you get that result, which you can achieve 80% of the time, then it makes everything else so much more easy to do. People often say to me, why don’t we do a year or two of non-medication treatment before starting medication? I say fine. I’m happy to do that with you. I’ve written books about that, but it’s sort of like saying, why don’t we do a year or two of squinting before we try eyeglasses?

Why not go to the proven intervention that is safe and effective? Why wait because it makes everything else you do more effective. Then the third element… We have education. We have trial of medication, 80% of the time it will help. The third element is coaching, which includes everything from how to get up in the morning and get dressed, to how to make your bed, to how to plan your homework, to how to listen in class, to how to take notes if you’re old enough to do that, to how to hand in papers on time, to how to stop procrastinating. All that comes under the heading of coaching. That can be done by an ADHD coach. The de facto coach is you, the parent, usually the mother. The problem with that is as the child gets older the coaching comes to feel like nagging.

What a hired coach does or a hired tutor does is what a mom would do minus the nag factor. Those would be my recommendations, but start with the recommendation of getting rid of yourself designation as a bumbling parent. You’re anything but. Educate as to what ADHD is. I recommend my book Delivered from Distraction. Consider your pediatrician for a trial of stimulant medication. Then bring in the coaching, addressing whatever the target areas of need are. Hope that makes sense, LB. Please give us follow up. Love to hear how he’s doing as time marches on.

Sarah Guertin:

This email is from Diana. She wrote in part, “Hello, Dr. Hallowell. First, let me say how much your work has personally and professionally impacted my life. Back in 2015 when I first started learning about how my daughter might have ADHD and that I myself might also have ADHD, it was your book Driven to Distraction that launched and guided me through this world of self discovery. Your book also enabled me to effectively advocate for the accommodations my own children need at home and in school, as well as giving those same tools to the students in my classroom, as a science teacher. In the more recent past and present, however, it has been your Distraction podcast that has opened up the flood gates to the multitude of other resources, which have skyrocketed my growth about ADHD since my diagnosis, and now too the diagnosis of my daughter, testing of my son for ADHD and navigating the most effective treatments for us all.

The reason for this email though, is not entirely to share my appreciation for you, but to ask for advice about, and possibly connections for writing my own book about my experiences with ADHD. Thus far, I have nearly an hour’s worth of voice memos with full pages of the book laid out along with ideas for more content and a broad framework for scope and scale of the book. Unfortunately, this is where I begin to flounder. Since I have no clue how to make connections in the publishing realm, do you happen to have any advice for this or contacts I could pursue in this endeavor to write my book? Your help and advice would be most greatly appreciated and valued. All my best, Diana.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, Diana, what a wonderful email. What a wonderful goal you’ve set for yourself of writing a book. That’s fantastic. One of the best ways to treat ADD is to develop a creative outlet. The reason I write so many books is if I don’t have a book going, I get depressed. I’ve found in working with people with ADD over the years, the ones who do best always have some kind of creative outlet, whether it’s writing or gardening or cooking or investing in the stock market. There’s some kind of creative outlet, an outlet that allows you to be spontaneous and access your unconscious and create. It is something that our brains really need to do. If we don’t do it… It’s like a cow that doesn’t get milked. We just get all stuck up, plugged up. Good for you. Wonderful goal.

Now what you’re going to need is structure. You can do that by hiring a coach. You’re also going to need an agent. It’s very hard to sell a book as an unpublished author if you don’t have an agent. It’s possible, but it’s extremely difficult. You can go online and Google agents and literary agents. The best ones or in New York or Boston, although there were agents all over the place. If you find an agent, you see, they’ll take on the task of helping you get the book written. Then selling it. What you can do once you have an agent is write, what’s called a proposal. The agent can sell the book based on the proposal. It has to be a fairly detailed, for someone who hasn’t been published, a fairly detailed summary of what the book will include.

Once your agent sells that proposal, then you get an advance. That’s a sum of money that you get to support you while you write the book. Now, if the book doesn’t earn back the full amount of the advance, you don’t have to pay it back. It’s called an advance on royalties, but it’s really a gift. You don’t get royalties until the book earns out as it’s called, until it earns back the amount of money of the advance. In the unfortunate case, it doesn’t earn that much money, you’re not on the hook. The publisher takes the risk, which is really quite wonderful. The agent usually takes 15% of the advance, but you don’t have to pay the agent anything if he or she does not sell the proposal. That’s in a nutshell the best way to get published.

You’ve done the hard part, which is gathered up your experience. Now you’ll have to sort through your voice memos and develop an outline, and a table of contents. That’s what usually goes into a proposal. Good for you for doing it. It’s a wonderful thing to do. You’ll feel very gratified and you will help an awful lot of people if the book manages to get published or you could self-publish. Now you can do eBooks on Amazon. There’s a whole way of doing that as well. You don’t have to rely on a New York publisher picking up your book. I hope that answers your question and good luck. You have to be crazy to write a book. It’s no way to make a living. It’s a good way to torture yourself. I’ve been writing them for many years now. I just finished my 21st book. I guess it’s a fine madness, if you will. It’s not a way to feel good, but it is a way to feel very fulfilled and satisfied.

Sarah Guertin:

“Hi, there. I listen to your podcast on Spotify to help with my ADHD, OCD, and insomnia, which is an ongoing issue. I think I have other underlying problems, but that’s another story. I’m constantly learning about it. I’m doing online courses to understand my brain and others and how it all works, but I’m stuck. As a result of COVID became isolated with all my usual helpers and I’m scared. I’m 24, female in Melbourne, Australia. I live out of home at the moment in a share house on a noisy street and can’t concentrate. I’ve decided to move back home because it seems to be my only option for a healthy and financially stable lifestyle. I am currently having a meltdown. My parents both obviously have undiagnosed ADHD along with my younger sister, but she has been diagnosed. The house is full of clutter. I’m slowly trying to organize my old room, which is full of the classic hoarding of old clothes from all people from my family.” She has another sister, too.

“I suffer from OCD and like things to always have a place. I love self-learning and love how my brain works most of the time. I think I’m a genius to be honest. I just cannot seem to understand what is a good decision. Do I move home where the clutter is never ending and don’t think it will ever be perfect? Will I be overwhelmed with a house full of ADHD? I can’t think. I’m trying to be positive. I help people often. I’m kind and actually enjoy organizing, but this is so much that I’m currently living out of my car because I’m stuck in between the two houses. I’m stuck. I’m anxious. I need help. What actions do I take? What advice do I listen to? Where do I look for help? Thank you for your help so far. Your podcasts make me feel safe wherever I’m sleeping at night.” She put in parentheses a different bed every night. “I hope you are well. I appreciate the work you do. Hailey.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, Hailey, what a wonderful email. What an amazing young woman you are. Gosh. I can’t remember the last email where someone said, “I actually think I’m a genius.” I love that you think you’re a genius because you are. Genius just means extraordinarily talented in some domain or another. I can tell just by reading your email, you are. What you need is what most of us with ADHD need, namely, some structure. You need to take all these wonderful ideas and images and thoughts and feelings that are ping-ponging around in your brain all day and most of the night and shape them, direct them, organize them. Like I say, ADD, you’ve got a Ferrari engine for a brain, but with bicycle brakes. Your Ferrari is zinging all over the place. You can’t decide on where to land. I think you need somebody to work with you, whether that could be a friend, if you can’t afford a professional help or a coach, probably it cost something, or an actual medical professional to take you on and help you construct a game plan so to speak.

It’s very hard to do it on your own. I would not. As for moving home, I assume the price is good. That’s an advantage. If you could create a space of the house that’s yours and if you could have it neat and tidy, then the chaos going on around you wouldn’t necessarily be a problem. If you all love each other, even if you’re a little chaotic, that’s fine. We can deal with chaos as long as there’s good feeling. You want to have good feeling. That force of connection is very formative as long as it’s positive connection. You say you suffer from OCD. It sounds like that can help you actually if you use that to get organized and have things in place. I think you really do need someone to sound off your ideas with and make some plans and set some goals. We really do well when we have goals.

Then someone to hold you accountable. That also helps if you could be held accountable. You have enormous potential, believe me for a 24 year old woman. I can just tell from your email, how much you’ve got going on inside that really zinging and zagging and zigging and zagging mind of yours. If you got some help and then I would certainly consider a trial of medication. You didn’t mention that in there, but you’ll need an MD to help you with that. When the meds work, they’re amazing. They really work wonders. If they don’t work, you just don’t take them.

The stimulant meds are in and out of your system very quickly. You can find out pretty fast if the meds will be helpful to you. If they are helpful to you and they help about 80% of people, then it makes all the rest of the interventions that you need so much easier. When you can focus, it’s like when you have eyeglasses. You can learn and do everything more felicitously. How’s that for a word, felicitously. Thank you so much for writing to us, Hailey. Please keep us posted on your progress. Let us know if we can help you in any other way. You are a genius. Don’t forget that.

[SPONSOR BREAK]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Before we get to the next question, I’d like to take a moment and talk with you about our wonderful sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. As many of you listeners know I’ve been taking OmegaBrite CBD supplement for the past few months. It’s the newest supplement from OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one, Omega 3 supplements for the past 20 years, which my wife and I have taken for quite some time now. We really swear by them. OmegaBrite’s founder, Dr. Carol Locke, graduate of Harvard Medical School, and her team set the standards for purity, safety and efficacy in the world of Omega 3s and have now brought that same commitment to excellence with their CBD supplement. I love the CBD because in my own case, it’s helped me with my reactivity, my natural impatience. I can be very impatient, reactive, peremptory. Since I’ve started the CBD, that’s sort of been blunted. I’m not like that. It hasn’t taken away any of my mental fastball at all. I encourage you to give it a try. You can find OmegaBrite CBD online at omegabritewellness.com.

As a special for Distraction listeners, the OmegaBrite folks have given you a 20% discount off your first order, but you have to use the promo code, podcast 2020. That’s pretty simple. Podcast 2020. Go to omegabritewellness.com. Order up some OmegaBrite CBD and some fish oil. While you’re there, you can also pick up some vitamin D. They also make that. Put in podcast 2020 and you’ll get 20% off.

[SPONSOR BREAK END]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

All right. Sarah, what does the next email have to offer us?

Sarah Guertin:

“Hey, Dr. Ned. I don’t have a question. I just wanted to give my thanks to you. I’m a 28 year old from Australia who is only just diagnosed with ADHD late last year. I failed out of university when I was 21 and went through a lot of self hatred and depression, not understanding why I couldn’t cope. I decided to come back to university and subsequently found out about the ADHD and my whole life suddenly made sense. It was a rollercoaster of emotions. I spent some time feeling really down about it. Earlier this year, I discovered both you and Peter Shankman. Both of your perspectives on ADHD have completely changed my mindset and life. It’s allowed me to really appreciate my strengths. I’m now managing my weaknesses properly. I wouldn’t give my ADHD away if I could. I’m also getting nearly exclusively A’s on all my assignments as well and have regained a fire in my belly that had all but died out.

Anyway, that was a bit of a tangent. I was writing to you just to tell you that when I’m having a bad day or I’m feeling lost, I often go to your podcast and listen to an episode. I really like your short episodes where you give your thoughts on a topic. There’s something about the way you talk about your experiences that calms me down and makes me feel like everything is and will be okay. Thank you for doing what you do. I really appreciate it. Regards, TCM.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Oh my goodness. What a wonderful email. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. I’m really glad that I’m able to help you calm down and think that everything will be okay. I think what you’re finding is the truth of my little aphorism, never worry alone. I was taught that by my teacher way back when I was a resident. Dr. Thomas Gutheil. He used to say to us, it’s okay to worry. In fact, it’s a good thing to worry. Just don’t worry alone. I think you must find in listening to the podcasts, a companionship, an affiliation that always makes us feel better. When we’re alone, we globalize. We catastrophize. We lose hope. When we’re in connection, it doesn’t have to be in person like the podcast isn’t in person, we feel the energy. We feel the whatever it is that has not yet been discovered, that happens when a person connects, even just by listening because you’re inputting even though you’re listening. You’re also adding to my words with images, associations, thoughts, feelings.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

If I started to describe the lake where my kids and I used to go growing up, you’ll think of a lake that you go to. That in and of itself will be calming and pleasant for you. You’re clearly on your way to doing wonderful things. I’m so glad you discovered Peter Shankman. I’m so glad you discovered me. Both Peter and I think of ADHD as something that if you manage properly can really enhance your life in a unique and wonderful way. I’m glad you’re discovering that. I’m glad you’re discovering the pot of gold at the end of this particular rainbow because it’ll be with you for the rest of your life. Thank you for writing in. I can’t thank you enough for your encouragement of me, which I need just like anybody else. Thank you again, TCM, from all the way from Australia where so many wonderful people live. Sarah, we have another one?

Sarah Guertin:

This next email is from Steven. He wrote in part “Dr. Hallowell, I’m 42 years old and was diagnosed with ADD at 39 by both a neurologist and psychologist. Before the diagnosis. I did well in college, earning three degrees, including a doctorate. I’ve been successful enough in the work world. Though, in retrospect, I see how strengths associated with ADD helps me and hindered me through the formal education process and how an earlier diagnosis would have been helpful. As I age my increasing difficulties with ADD correlate 100% with attempts to balance parenthood, my wife and I have three young children, career and related responsibilities. I’m convinced that I successfully self-medicated prior to marriage and children with long hikes distance running, long bike rides and time outdoors. That’s a bit harder to come by now. I need additional help. I’ve been taking generic Adderall for just over two years, either 10 milligrams XR, or single, or double dose of five milligram tabs as needed.

Overall, I’m satisfied with the medications impact. I tried generic Ritalin prior with a slightly lesser result. I find that when I skip a day of medication, I’m 100% okay, especially, if I’m not at my desk job. Self-medicating with exercise works better anyway, sometimes, but on the second day of not medicating, I become noticeably irritable, starting in the morning, far sadder than circumstances warrant and I’m generally a less agreeable husband and father.

One solution is to medicate daily, without exception.” Then he put this in bold. “But I’m hoping that my experience isn’t a sign of addiction. If it is what actions should I take? Finally, I’m otherwise healthy and fit. I rarely drink alcohol. I use no other drugs, recreational or prescription. I’m not prone to addictive behaviors. I take Omega 3 supplements per your suggestion. I do find that if I take an XR pill in the morning, I feel a drop-off late afternoon. I usually work through such or take a five milligram tab at onset of drop-off, especially if I plan to work or have meetings that evening, but taking medications too late in the day does affect my sleep.” It kind of goes on from there, but that’s the general question that he’s asking.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Steven, you’re obviously an incredibly talented person as so many people with ADD are. I’m really glad you got diagnosed and you got on medication. The fact that you feel funny after two days does not mean you’re addicted at all. It just means you’re suffering from some residual side effects, but you’re not addicted. If you were addicted, you would go into withdrawal. You’d have cravings. You’d become irritable. I do think it means you need to tweak the medications. What I would suggest is switching from Adderall XR to Vyvanse. Amphetamine is the active ingredient in both, but with Vyvanse the drop-off is smoother. I’ve found with most of my patients when they switch from Adderall XR to Vyvanse, they don’t have that crashing, as it’s called, period when the medication is wearing off. You’re managing it properly, by the way, to use the five milligram immediate release Adderall to temper that. I’m glad that’s working well for you.

Of course, exercise is the best of all in terms of self-medicating. Continue with the exercise. You might add in some meditation, which you can do five or 10 minutes once or twice a day. Don’t forget the vitamin C, vitamin connect. Stay connected with the people you care about. That all will help with these raggedy feelings that you can get. Push exercise. Push meditation. Push human connection. I would tweak the medication in the way I just suggested to switch from the Adderall XR to Vyvanse. Keep the immediate release Adderall toward the end of the day, but don’t take it too late or you will get insomnia as you’ve experienced. Thank you, Steven. Please stay in touch with us. Let us know what progress you make. Sarah, do we have any more?

Sarah Guertin:

This last one is a voice memo that we received from a listener named Grey. Grey reached out to us several months ago, Ned, when you did your meatloaf episode. He wrote to us and told us that he is a fan of meatloaf as well. Here’s what he recorded.

Grey:

“Hello, Dr. Hallowell. Greetings to you again. This is Grey, your meatloaf pal. I have a four year old daughter. We are working our way through classic kid appropriate music. We’ve been listening to The Sound of Music recently. After listening to Maria and I Have Confidence a few times, it dawned on me. Have you ever heard a better or more musical description of ADHD? Someone who has trouble following rules, but is a joyously good person and is determined to succeed despite repeated negative feedback. Perhaps you can name a future book, chapter, holding a moonbeam. I would love to hear your comments. Thanks.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, thank you, Grey. Thank you for continuing our meatloaf association. I hope you are experimenting. There are as many recipes for meatloaf as there are cures for hiccups. Sometimes meatloaf will give you the hiccups. One of my favorite meals. I love to pair meatloaf with a baked potato. I don’t know about you. Then a nice salad or peas, but I don’t often get to have the peas because no one in my family likes them. I love them. I don’t know how you feel about peas. They go well with meatloaf and a baked potato. Anyway. Yes. Holding a moonbeam. Yes. That’s wonderful. I’m so glad you’re introducing your daughter to the world of ADD in such a positive way, which is indeed how it is. I think that’s terrific.

I love the image. Wanting to do well and do right, but not really inclined to be a conformist and paint within the lines. She’ll be carving out her own painting as the years go by. With a wonderful father like you and I’m sure a mother as well, it will all be coming up roses and moonbeams for you all. Thank you. Thank you so much, Grey. Please keep me posted both about your daughter and about your experiences in the world of meatloaf.

All right. If you have a question you’d like me to address in a future episode and it can be about anything including meatloaf or moonbeams or kangaroos in Australia, write an email or record a voice memo on your phone just as Gray did. Send it to us at [email protected].

If you’re on Facebook, be sure to like the Distraction podcast page. We post links to episodes, relevant articles and the occasional cute dog video, which I’ve got to make another one of those soon. It’s a good way to stay connected with the show and other Distraction listeners. We’re on Instagram and Twitter. Please give us a like and a follow on there as well. Now, if I knew how to do any of those things, I’d do it myself, but someone else does it for me. I’m too old this dog to learn those new tricks, but you are young and Instagram and Twitter savvy. Please do that. Like, follow, embroider and add to. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our wonderful recording engineer and editor is Scott Persson. Our producer is the estimable, irreplaceable and always effervescent, Sarah Guertin. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for now.

The episode you’ve just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega 3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD. Safe, third party tested, and it works. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Share:
The Sleep Benefits of CBD with OmegaBrite Wellness

The Sleep Benefits of CBD with OmegaBrite Wellness

Dr. Carol Locke, the founder of OmegaBrite Wellness, joins our host for a special episode about how CBD supplements have been shown to improve sleep. They talk about the science of why CBD works and discuss a recent sleep study that has shown very promising results.

This episode is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness.

Learn more about CBD by clicking HERE for a list of frequently asked questions.

Shop OmegaBrite CBD online. Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

Hello, and welcome to the podcast Distraction, a special episode today. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell, and we are bringing you the brilliant, the amazing, the incredibly accomplished, Dr. Carol Locke, the founder, creator, developer, and all around guru of OmegaBrite and their special new product CBD. CBD has been hot on every list and it took someone like Carol to really drill down, and make it right, and play by the rules, and assure purity and quality, and all the things that OmegaBrite has been famous for with their omega-3 product.

Well, today we have Dr. Carol Locke back, she is the founder of OmegaBrite Wellness. That’s O-M-E-G-A-B-R-I-T-E intentionally misspelled. And she joined me back in April for a conversation we called, Tools to Help You Stay Calm. Today, she’s going to talk more about CBD, and particularly about sleep. She’s going to share some of the research, but enough from me, let me turn it over to my wonderful friend and brilliant collaborator, Carol Locke.

Dr. Carol Locke:

Thank you, Ned, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So tell us about CBD.

Dr. Carol Locke:

Well, one of the questions that comes up with CBD is CBD and sleep. So how CBD works. Our body has a signaling system called the endocannabinoid system, and we have receptors in our body CB one and CB two, as well as other nerve receptors that cannabinoids work on. And we have cannabinoids that our body makes, and those are part of our body and help regulate it. And we can also take cannabinoids by plant-based cannabinoids, which is what CBD is. And so, we’re looking at how people benefit from taking with a supplement CBD, and one of the benefits is sleep.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And how does it help you sleep?

Dr. Carol Locke:

Well, we know that CBD is very effective for decreasing pain and decreasing anxiety. So one effect may be that as you decrease pain and anxiety, you’re able to go to sleep much better and remain asleep, as well as wake up refreshed. We also know that CBD and the endocannabinoid system is part of our body’s regulation of mood, appetite, sleep, and our circadian rhythms, our day and night rhythms of sleeping.

So as we’re taking this and helping rebalance, and achieve a better homeostasis of our endocannabinoid system, it seems to be benefiting sleep. There’s one study recently in the Permanente Journal, which 72 adults with anxiety and poor sleep were studied, and they were given 25 milligrams of CBD at night in a capsule form. Those that had anxiety took the CBD in the morning. So sleep at night CBD for anxiety in the morning. After a month, 79% of the people had improved anxiety and had better sleep in 66% of participants.

Dr. Carol Locke:

So we see that it’s working, and after another month, the sleep benefits tended to decrease. And we’ve seen this in other studies. So it may be that they need a higher dose for sleep, it may be that they need to change the type of CBD they’re taking. If they’re taking full spectrum or broad spectrum, they’re slightly different, they may want to make changes. So those studies were encouraging, and we need more studies to understand how CBD helps with sleep. But we do know that people report significant benefit with sleep, as well as decreased anxiety and decreased pain, which affect your ability to go to sleep and remain asleep.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Before we had these supplements, where did people get their CBD from?

Dr. Carol Locke:

Well, our body makes it. And this is an interesting question that we have cannabinoids and endogenous cannabinoids that our body makes. And why is it that we benefit from more? We don’t know. Is it that right now, our life is so much more stressful than say, if we were hunter gatherers in our evolution? Is it just the overwhelming, if you think of it, the noise, the sleep cycle changes, the demands, the different things going on? Is it an increased level of stress that is requiring us to have more cannabinoids to bring benefit?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

I remember back when I was in medical school, I graduated in 1978, we were just discovering the endogenous morphine system, the so-called endorphins. And that was so exciting, there are opiate receptors we have throughout our body. And one of the ways you can get a surge of endorphins is physical exercise. That’s the runner’s highs, a surge of endorphins. Does a similar happen with endocannabinoids?

Dr. Carol Locke:

It does, and it also happens with exercise, and it also helps with the runners high [inaudible 00:06:05], which is one of our endogenous cannabinoids is called the bliss molecule. And so, part of the cannabinoid system in our body does give you the experience of bliss and relaxation. Isn’t that cool? So the bliss molecule breaks down rapidly, but taking CBD helps prolong that effect.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Really. So other than taking exogenous supplement of CBD and exercise, are there other ways of accessing the bliss molecule and other endocannabinoids?

Dr. Carol Locke:

There are bliss states. So you’re wondering about yoga, you’re wondering about meditation, and I think these are things that need to be researched.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, maybe when you’re in the zone, when you’re really-

Dr. Carol Locke:

Exactly. And that would be really a fantastic study to see if our levels are increasing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

But meanwhile, your supplement, how many milligrams of CBD is in it?

Dr. Carol Locke:

Well, we have a variety of different CBD products. So you can take the full spectrum CBD 25 milligrams, we have a broad spectrum CBD 25 milligrams, we have different tinctures. One is a lower milligram tincture, and one is a 1500 milligram tincture of oil. And those are full spectrum.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

What’s the one that I take?

Dr. Carol Locke:

You take the full spectrum, 25 milligram capsule, which is really a favorite, because it is very rich in the different plant molecules, the terpenes and bioflavonoids, and as well as other cannabinoids that there are.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

What are turpentines?

Dr. Carol Locke:

Terpenes are a smell flavor molecule that can have different smells. If you smelled the cannabis sativa plant, it can have dramatically different smells, and they seem to be important as well. Many people feel they’re part of the entourage effect, the ability, those molecules help turn on the CBD and make it work.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

What’s the entourage effect?

Dr. Carol Locke:

That is something that people believe may be important that there are other molecules they’re part of the plant, they’re part of the cannabis sativa plant, the hemp plant. When they’re present, they help the body turn on the benefits in the cell. We need more research on that, and that’s where people are taking the full spectrum capsule that you have, which is so rich in these terpenes in these other plant molecules, and people have a huge benefit.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, as you know, I take four of them a day, so I take 100 milligrams a day, and I love it.

Dr. Carol Locke:

And what’s your experience?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

I love it. I didn’t really have a target symptom, but I use myself as my own experimental animal. So I started taking them and I noticed that I’m just less reactive, less impatient, less apt to snap if someone interrupts me, more patient when I’m on the phone with the annoying bureaucrat. But just a general stabilizing effect. So I love it. I take my four little pills every morning, along with my four OmegaBrite fish oils, and I’m off to the races.

Dr. Carol Locke:

That’s fantastic. Well, we hear a lot of people that’s their favorite, the full spectrum CBD capsule. It just gives a very good benefit of calming, people report like you do, that they feel better, they feel nicer. That’s one of the descriptions. It’s pretty great to see.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

That’s wonderful. Well, if you’d like to try OmegaBrite CBD, go to omegabritewellness.com. Remember brite is spelled B-R-I-T-E. So omegabritewellness.com. And Distraction listeners can save 20% on their first order by using the promo code, podcast 2020, that’s podcast, 2020. Thank you so much, Carol, you’re such a benefactor to the world. It’s been wonderful having you.

Dr. Carol Locke:

Well, thank you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And listeners, remember to reach out to us with your questions and show ideas. Our email address is [email protected]. We really depend upon input from all of you. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the wonderful, Pat Keogh, and our producer is the brilliant and beautiful, Sarah Guertin. I am Dr. Ned Hallowell, goodbye for today.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

Share:
What You Tell Yourself Matters

What You Tell Yourself Matters

Changing your mindset can take a lot of work, but it is possible. Today’s guest grew up thinking he would never be good at math, and went on to write two textbooks on the subject! It’s all about what you tell yourself and what you’re willing to do. Listen as Dr. H talks with Steven Campbell about how your brain is always paying attention.

To learn more about Steven Campbell’s virtual workshop go to StevenRCampbell.teachable.com. Use the code COVID49 to pay just $49 (regularly $297) for a limited time.

Making the Mind Magnificent by Steven Campbell

Reach out to us! Send us an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected]

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Hello, and welcome to today’s episode of Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Last week, we released a mini-episode where I talked about little ways to make each day feel special. I hope you’ve been practicing your own ways of making each day feel special, as a way to counter some of the stress and anxiety that we’re all living through these days. My guest today is here to add a few ideas to that list. His name is Steven Campbell, and he has an MSIS, that was new to me, we looked it up, master of science in information systems, MSIS. And his resume includes professor, author, educational dean radio host, and professional speaker.

He conducts seminars around the world on the subject of changing what we say to ourselves about ourselves. Boy, that’s a big topic and he joins me today to help all of us thrive in this new normal. Thanks so much for joining me, Steven.

Steven Campbell:

Well, thank you so much for having me, Ned, I appreciate that this is going to be fun.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So, just have at it. How can you help us talk to ourselves better about ourselves?

Steven Campbell:

Well, psychology has been doing some amazing things in the last 60 years. I really like to start with the ’60s because that’s where changes really began. That was really the beginning of cognitive psychology. And a little book came out back in 1961, called The Guide to Rational Living by Albert Ellis, he was one of the founders of cognitive psychology. In that book he suggested, because the research had not been done sufficiently as it is now, so what I’m going to be sharing with you has been researched for years all over the world, is that everything that we can do today is primarily based on what we say to ourself about ourself, today. Now, notice I’m emphasizing the word today, when he suggested this, in his little book, psychology had an absolute conniption fit, they said, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no.”

The way we are today is based in our childhood, and unresolved childhood conflicts, of course, that was Freudianism. That was followed by behaviorism, Dr. BF Skinner from Harvard, who said, “No, no, no. The way we are today, it’s all cause and effect.” That was followed by, “It’s all in your genes.” Which is wrong because we’re far more than our genes. That was followed by environmentalism, it’s in your environment, your birther, your mom, your dad. And Dr. Ellis came back and he said something really interesting, he said, “You know what? They’re all true.” Wait a minute. How could they all be true? Here’s the point, when you say it, your brain’s job is to make true.

So, I think one of the most exciting discoveries that psychology has made is that our brain believes what we tell it, without question, no arguments. So, when I give my presentations to people, I like to always give personal stories because that’s what makes it real. So, let me share a little story that illustrates this. For the first 42 years of my life, I said to myself, “I am really dumb at math.” And guess what? I was because that what I said to myself, I’d see numbers, I would freak out. But then in the ’70s I began discovering computers and I began tinkering around with computers and eventually got a graduate degree in computer science and began teaching computer courses. And one day the dean came in the office at this one university, he said, “One of our math professors just quit, so you are our new math professor.”

“No, I can’t.” He said, “Do you want a job? Learn. There’s the book. Next semester.” Well, I needed the job, Ned, so picked up all the books I could on brain-based learning from my library. And I taught my curriculum based on how the brain learns. And students began saying, “Oh my gosh, Mr. Campbell, you are such a good math teacher.” And then, the Dean said, “All the students saying, ‘I will only take math if Mr.Campbell’s my professor.'” And here’s what I began doing, Ned. I began listening to what they were saying to me rather than what I’ve been saying to myself for 42 years. And I began saying, “You know what? I’m really good at math. This is really fun. I’m having a good time with this.” And what did my brain say? “Oh, okay. Is it true? Don’t care. All I care is what you tell me. You say it. I believe it.”

And I began enjoying math so much I eventually ended up writing two college textbooks. In what do you think? Math and computer science. So, here’s the point, everything we can do today is primarily based on what we say to ourself about ourself, today. We can change what we are saying to ourself about ourself, when? Today. And what will our brain say? “Okay. Is it true Don’t care. All I care is what you tell me.” When I began learning that, things began changing in my life, in my wife’s life and then eventually in our daughter’s lives and in my students’ lives. So, the first point is that our brain believes what you tell it, which is scary and wonderful. The scary part is when you’d say, “Oh my gosh, I’m so dumb for doing this.” You know what our brain says to that?

“Okay. Yeah, you’re right. You really are.” And then what it does is it looks for other ways in which we did bad things and makes us feel dumb. But the wonderful part is when you say, “You know what, that was really dumb, but that doesn’t mean I’m dumb.” Brain says what? “Oh, okay.” And then it looks for ways in which I’m really intelligent. When I say, “I can do it.” The brain says, “Absolutely.” And it becomes obsessed with finding ways of doing it. So, the first principle is that we are in charge. Our brain’s listening to us. People say, “Well, what about what other people say to us?” Listen, what other people say to us do not become a part of our mindset until we agree with them.

I’m a first year Baby Boomer, born in 1947, I was taught that you have a self-image that you have to maintain and flourish and all that. It turns out that’s only partially true. It turns out that we now know that we have millions of self-images. You have a self-image for every single thing that you do. I have a self-image for every single thing that I do. So, I have a self-image of how I see myself as a father, as a husband, as a grandfather, as a teacher, as a singer, as all this. So, I have all these self-images. In fact, I have a self-image for every meal that I cook. So, I cook really good scrambled eggs and horrible poached eggs. What’s the point? Well, if I kept two self-images for just two meals that I cook, you can imagine how many self-images that you have. Some of them are really strong and others are not, but here’s the point. Those self-images are learned. You were not born with them.

Now, all of us were born with certain natural dispositions. I was born a natural teacher. I’ve always been a teacher. When I was a kid, I used to put rocks in my backyard to pretend that I was teaching them. I mean, I was a weird kid, but we all have these natural dispositions. I don’t know you too well, Ned, but you have these natural things that you just love doing. It’s just a natural thing. Now, you had to learn how to do it, but the learning wasn’t hard because it was what you were doing naturally. So, our self-images are learned. Now, here’s where it gets exciting. Our self-images are learned from our self-talk. Our self images are based on what we are saying to ourself about ourself, today. Now, why is that so scary? Because according to your Shad Helmstetter in his wonderful book, What We Say When We Talk to Ourself, most of what we say to ourself is negative.

Also, what we say to ourself, I call the negative crap, because our brain’s believing it. And here’s what’s scary, we keep saying it and our brain rewires itself, this is called neuroplasticity. There’s a wonderful book by Eric Kandel called In Search of Memory, which I highly recommend people read if they’re interested in this. Neuroplasticity is basically the fact that our brain rewires itself and it’s doing that right now. And so, when you give yourself messages like, “I’m really dumb.” The brain rewires itself and makes you dumb, but when you give yourself [inaudible 00:09:02] messages, the brain rewire itself, and those messages not only become a part of what you think, they become your mindset and then they become who you are.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Why do people say these negative things to themselves?

Steven Campbell:

It’s what we do. When people become aware of the negative stuff they’re telling themselves, they hold themselves back and they say, “Wait a minute. I don’t think so.” So, when I began saying to myself about the math stuff, “Wait a minute, I’m really smart in this.” The brain says, “Yes, you absolutely are.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Steven, Steven, come on, I have to just gently challenge a little bit here because nobody would want to be dumb at math. So, why would someone say, “I’m bad at math.”?

Steven Campbell:

I was bad at math is because of the way I was raised. It’s the way I thought about myself. I was raised in a family where I always just felt … I was raised feeling really, really dumb.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay. But if it were as simple as saying, “Oh, I’m really smart.” Then you on the spot become smart. I mean-

Steven Campbell:

Yes, it goes more than that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay. Or to say, “Oh, I’m good at math.” Then we could just fire all the tutors and the special educators and just have a course in saying, “I’m good at math.” And suddenly everyone would be good at math.

Steven Campbell:

Yeah. As you noticed, it’s not that easy, but to start-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, see, that’s what I’m saying. You make it sound as if it is. I mean, our brain believes what we say to ourselves, all we have to do is change what we say to ourselves and suddenly it’ll change?

Steven Campbell:

That’s where it starts. It starts with changing what we’re saying to ourself about ourself. Is it easy? Of course not.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, so that’s what I’m getting at. What makes it hard?

Steven Campbell:

Let me talk a little bit about self-image, a little bit more, I think that will answer your question. Our self-images are learned, which means they’re hardwired into our brain. They’re really, really hard to change because you’ve been saying these things to your life, some of these negative things all your life, and they’re hardwired in there.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

But Steven, you just said a little while ago, your brain believes what you tell it. Well, if that’s true, then why can’t you just tell it, “I’m good at math.” And on the spot become good at math.

Steven Campbell:

You can, but it’s going to fight you tooth and nail in the beginning.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So, it doesn’t believe what you tell it, in other words?

Steven Campbell:

It does believe. But when I began teaching the math, I discovered that it was really fun. If I just said, “I’m good at math.” And stopped there, this never would have happened.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay. So, you had to do something, Steven, you had to do something to prove to yourself that you were good at math? It wasn’t enough just to say, “I’m good at math.”

Steven Campbell:

Oh, no. No.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay. So, that’s a far cry from what you said at first, at first you said, “Brain believes whatever you tell it.” But then as you tell your story, no, you had to prove to yourself you were good at math and then your brain believed it.

Steven Campbell:

Yes. Absolutely. But it had to start with a change of what I was saying to myself. If I had said to that professor, “I’m just dumb in math, I can’t do it.” It would have stopped there. I said, “No, I’ve got to teach this class.” And then, I began looking at how the brain thought and I began teaching the class. And that’s when I said, “This is really fun. I can do this.” And the more I did it, the more the math became easier and easier, and really fun, but it starts with what I was saying to myself. And then, when I began teaching it and my brain rewired itself, it became easier and easier.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

But I’m sorry, again, but I just have to push back a little bit. It didn’t start with what you were saying to yourself. It started by you’re accepting a challenge out of necessity because you needed the job.

Steven Campbell:

Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay. So, you were still saying to yourself, “Holy bleep, I’m bad at math, but I got to get good at math. And how am I going to do that?” And then you set about accepting the challenge and lo and behold, you were much better than you had thought. So, you proved to yourself that, in fact, you had talent that you didn’t know you had.

Steven Campbell:

That’s right. That’s right. But it started with the decision to accept that challenge. I could have said, “I just can’t do it. I just cannot do it, and you got to get someone else.” Or it says, “You know what? I’ve got to do this and I’m going to.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. So, you have grit. You have the ability to dig in, even when you think you’re at a disadvantage.

Steven Campbell:

That’s right. But it began with that decision, “I’m going to do this, I’m doing this.” And then when I began doing it, I discovered it was really easy and really fun. Does that make sense?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah, it does, but I’m glad to get it clarified. So, you’re not saying it’s as easy as saying,” Oh, I’m good at math.” And then, suddenly your brain will believe that?

Steven Campbell:

No, because I had been saying that stuff to myself for 42 years. It was when I began teaching it and I began seeing the responses from the students that I began saying, “Wait a minute, this isn’t bad at all. I’m having a really good time with this.” And then, when I began realizing I could write a book on this, it all validated it. But in the beginning it was hard and I had to make that decision, “All right, I’m really stupid in math, but I need this job, so I’m going to accept the challenge.” And at first it was difficult, but it became easier and easier.

[SPONSOR BREAK]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

All right. Well, if you’ve been listening to the podcast regularly, you probably know that I’ve been taking a new supplement for the past couple of months and it’s called OmegaBrite CBD. OmegaBrite CBD is created by the estimable Dr. Carol Locke and her wonderful company OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Carol and her team have set the standards for purity, safety and efficacy in the wild world of CBD. And have brought the same commitment to excellence to their new CBD supplement. What does it help me with? Well, I am less anxious since starting to take it. I’m getting better sleep and I am more focused on what I really want to be doing. Shop OmegaBrite CBD online at omegabritewellness.com. Distraction listeners save 20% on their first order with the promo code PODCAST2020. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell. Strongly recommend you try OmegaBrite CBD.

[SPONSOR BREAK END]

Steven Campbell:

I guess, that’s the point that I’m trying to make here. That it starts with, oftentimes, a decision that I can do it. Does that make sense?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Of course. I guess, the obvious question is why doesn’t everyone decide, “I can do it.”?

Steven Campbell:

Well, that’s a really good question and I don’t have the complete answer to that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

It’s just it’s such an interesting question. I mean, when I was in the 12th grade, I wrote a three-page short story in September and I handed it in and my teacher handed it back with a note at the bottom that said, “Why don’t you turn this into a novel?”

Steven Campbell:

Oh my gosh.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And I said, “I knew this was a tough school, but I didn’t know I had to write a novel.” Well, I didn’t have to. And I was the only one, I was the only student he challenged to do that. And he said, “You know it’ll have to be on your time and you won’t get any credit for it, but I think you ought to try and do it.” And for some reason, I took up the challenge. And by the end of the year, I’d written a novel and it won the English prize and it changed my life forever because what it did was it got me to prove to myself that I could do something that I would have thought was impossible. If you told me at the beginning of the year, “You’ll write a novel.” I would have said, “Yeah, sure, and I’ll fly to the moon.”

But, the genius of this teacher was laying down that challenge in such a way that I accepted it. And to me, that’s what great teaching is. It’s getting people to prove to themselves they can do more than they thought they could do. But it was where that impulse comes from to say yes to the challenge, as opposed to say no. Well, in your case, you say it came from necessity. You had to have the job. In my case, I don’t know where it came from because I certainly didn’t believe I could do it. I suppose it was the triumph of hope over experience.

Steven Campbell:

That story just illustrates everything I’ve been saying. It started with the suggestion from your teacher and you had to decide, “I’m going to write this novel.” And your brain said, “Yes, you can.” And more you wrote it, I bet the more you enjoyed it because you were saying to yourself, “You know what? This is working.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

No, it was always difficult. Writing is difficult. I can’t say it became easy, but it became magnetic. I looked forward to doing it, I suppose, in the way someone looks forward to going to the weight room or something. I looked forward to the pain because it was in the service of trying to create something good. Yeah.

Steven Campbell:

And what happened is your brain was rewiring itself and it became a writer. You became a writer. Yeah. And that’s what’s wonderful about this. So, here’s what I tell my audiences at the end of every presentation I make, I want to give you two new ways of thinking. One, when you do something really well, one, when you do something really badly and the first one is from Stanford University, back in 1975 called the Effort Effect. What they discovered is that most of us pass over our successes way too quickly, too lightly, for them to ever become a part of who we are. So, oftentimes when people say to us, “Good job, I’m so proud of you.” Oftentimes many of us, not all of us, but many of us say, “Oh, not really. Oh, that’s embarrassing. That’s egotistical. Thank you very much. I could have done a better job. I was part of a team.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes. It’s so true.

Steven Campbell:

“Well, no, no, not really.” Well, this comes back to the brain believes what you tell it. When you say, “No, no, no, really, not really.” The brain’s believing that, the brain says, “Yeah, you’re right, you’re right, you’re right, you’re right, you’re right.” So, what I tell people is this, “When people stop to say, ‘Good job.’ you look at them and you say, ‘Thank you for telling me that.'” And then you wallow in your success like a pig in slop. I love the work of Dr. E.P. Seligman out of University of Pennsylvania, who was one of the authors of Positive Psychology. I taught this to around 300 Kaiser physicians, a number of years ago, down in Los Angeles. And when I said, “Wallow in your success.” The whole audience just broke up and laughed at the thought of that, but they loved what I was saying. They just loved it.

And when I was driving back to LAX, I was so excited I almost drove off the freeway. And so, I stopped by a Chevron, got a tuna sandwich and a Coke, and looked at myself in there. I was alone in my little rental car. I said to myself, I said, “You are the most amazing speaker.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So, in some ways, you’re repositioning Norman Vincent Peale.

Steven Campbell:

Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

It’s the power of positive thinking.

Steven Campbell:

That’s right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

What you’re saying is absolutely true. It’s just, I think the hard part for most people, the brain is a tough sell. I disagree with you-

Steven Campbell:

Yes, it is.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

… that your brain believes what you tell it. You have to really persist in telling it, but if you do, it’s a really worthwhile effort because you can change from being someone who completely doubts everything you do, to someone who has confidence.

Steven Campbell:

Absolutely. I have a wonderful virtual workshop that I’m doing, that I’m offering at a tremendous discount. It’s normally $297, I’m offering it for a $248 discount. It’s what I call my COVID discount. And it is nine separate presentations, including a workbook that you can watch anytime you want to. And the website address is stevenrcampbell.teachable.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So, stevenrcapmbell.teachable.com.

Steven Campbell:

Yes. And go on there and write the discount code COVID49 and that will give you a $248 discount. So, the end price is $49.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And what is in the workshop?

Steven Campbell:

Workshop is basically the contents of my book. And it’s nine sessions that covers everything from self-images to goals, to affirmations, to why affirmations do not work, to affirmations why they can work and then it gets into feelings. So, it goes into all of it and people have really enjoyed it. And then, my book, Making Your Mind Magnificent, is on Amazon.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Wonderful. Well, you’re a very wonderfully accomplished and wise man. I really appreciate your joining us. So, thank you so much to Steven Campbell for joining us and to learn more about his virtual workshop, Flourishing in These Unprecedented Times, go to stevenrcampbell.teachable.com, enter the code COVID49, or get his book, Making Your Mind Magnificent. And remember, please, to reach out to us. We love hearing from you. Send a voice memo or an email to [email protected] That’s [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the wonderful Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer and editor is the irrepressibly delightful and brilliant Pat Keogh. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for today.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

Share:
Now Is the Time to Rethink Your Plans

Now Is the Time to Rethink Your Plans

The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed the education system, and no one is really sure what school is going to look like in the fall. From higher education institutions to preschools, everyone is trying to figure out a way forward. Taking a “gap year” is one option many college bound students are considering. Rick Fiery of Inventive Labs, an entrepreneurial incubator, discusses the pros and cons of the gap year approach with Ned, who shares his own experience with taking a gap year!

Share your thoughts with us. Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by Omega Brite CBD. Formulated by Omega Brite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years, Omega Brite CBD, safe, third party tested. And it works. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Rick Fiery:

The college experience next year is going to be very, very different. And I don’t know what you think Ned, but I don’t think it’s going to be very conducive to people with ADHD. Online is really, really tough for folks to do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello and welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Today, we have a guest who has been on the show before, and a guest whom we love and adore, who was an amazing entrepreneur himself. And along with his partner, Tom Bergeron, no, not that Tom Bergeron, but another Tom Bergeron, on some years ago, founded Inventive Labs in Amesbury, Massachusetts, and amazing place that takes kids and some older folks who are entrepreneurial, but don’t want to go to school or can’t go to school or have tried school and found they’re allergic to it. They go up to Inventive Labs and they find a place, an incubator, if you will, where they can share with other Inventives as they’re called, rather than students, other Inventives and learn how to develop and start a business, or build a boat or a design a dress or whatever might be the entrepreneurial creative outlet that they’ve found for themselves.

It’s an amazing place, an incredible place. And we are thrilled to welcome its co-founder Mr. Rick Fiery, aptly named because he is indeed a fiery man. And he’s here to not only talk about Inventive Labs, but an idea that he has related to what he’s seen during the pandemic. So without further ado, let me welcome my friend and colleague, Mr. Rick Fiery.

Rick Fiery:

Well, thanks Ned as always, it’s amazing to talk to you and kind of share some stories and have a conversation. And that’s what I was kind of hoping to do today. I would add that we did start out as entrepreneurship as kind of a thing that we wanted to help people with. And that was probably… It’s hard to believe it’s about seven years ago that we started and we’ve also morphed quite a bit. We’ve listened to what people have wanted and we’ve added, probably about five years ago, what we call kind of career prep and gap year programs as well. Because we felt that… We saw that people really wanted to start a business potentially.

But they also realized pretty quickly that they needed to gain some more knowledge and maybe get some industry experience in a field before they jumped into the entrepreneurship group. So like good entrepreneurs, we listened to our customers and we pivoted and we’ve expanded and added those programs about five years ago. So I think that’s an important component to what we do. In fact, those programs have turned out to be very, very popular with people to where we have probably, interestingly enough, we probably have more people enrolled in gap year and career prep than entrepreneurship right now. That may change though, with the latest shift in the economy.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

What about your idea related to what people have learned from distance learning?

Rick Fiery:

Well, I think what has happened, interestingly, I think in the world, quite frankly, the whole world right now is on pause for a number of different reasons. And a lot of people, when they’re considering college, we kind of believe, especially with people with ADHD, they really need to know why they’re going to college. I would say that the number one question that ADHD-ers ask is always, “Why? Why do I need to do this? Why do I need to study English literature if I’m going to be an engineer?” That was my question when I was in college. Why do I need to do this? What am I going to get from it if I put forth this effort?

What we’ve tried to focus on with people is really identifying their strengths, identifying their weaknesses, and then based on their strengths and weaknesses pick a career direction first. I think when I was younger, people didn’t ask me where I was going to go to college. They asked me what I was going to do for my life, what I was going to do for a career. And then once you knew that, then you pick the college. I think right now it’s kind of a race to pick the best possible college that people can potentially brag about it to their friends at a cocktail party. And I think it’s gotten backwards.

So from our perspective, people have struggled in the past to take a gap year, but they’ve struggled in the past because they think they’re going to fall behind. That’s been the number one reason that people have said, “Hey, I’m not really comfortable doing this. I’m going to fall behind.” And our point right now with everything that’s going on with the pandemic, et cetera, the college experience next year is going to be very, very different.

And I don’t know what you think Ned, but I don’t think it’s going to be very conducive to people with ADHD. Online is really, really tough for folks to do. And we’ve seen that firsthand. We went online partly for our program and it worked, but it was very different. It was a different kind of experience. And for online and the colleges going forward, it’s going to be an extremely difficult environment for people with ADHD. So kind of our point is, if there was ever a time to take, not a gap year, but what I would call it a focus year. Where you can focus yourself, identify your strengths and weaknesses and take a break and figure out where you’re aiming before you go marching off to college or marching into a career and get it right.

And you’re going to save a lot of time, frustration, potentially failure, and many other bad things from happening if you just hit the pause button for a second. So I kind of, the thing that has struck us is that if ever there was a time to do it, now you have a great reason to do it. And there’s no reason to go marching off to college this fall, or even the next spring, with the way the environment is going to be for folks.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. I think the experiment in distance learning, using Zoom and other tools has really taught us how much better live and in-person education is, not just for people with ADHD, for everyone. I think the experiment has largely failed. And I have a lot of… I’m doing all my seeing of patients over Zoom now. And, that’s a perfectly acceptable replacement, but I’m not teaching a course, nor am I trying to learn physics or chemistry or English literature for that matter. It’s really difficult for people to both teach and learn.

I’ve talked to teachers about this, many teachers and I’ve talked to many parents and I’ve talked to many frustrated students. I haven’t heard one person say, “Oh, this is really great.” Not one. I’ve heard people say, “I’m glad they’re able to continue the educational process in some way.” But it’s always followed by, “I can’t wait to get back to live and in-person schooling.” I think drives home the point I’ve always made about the importance of connection and in-person human connection is the best. Virtual electronic connection is okay. But it just isn’t the same thing. And certainly for folks with dyslexia and ADHD, both of which I have, it would just be torture.

It would be a real exercise in going backwards to head off to school in September with the expectation of doing online courses. And I think you’re so right to say this is a perfect time and it’s not a pause. You say hit the pause button. You’re not pausing. You’re just redirecting. You’re saying what is being offered won’t work for me. It will be torture. It will make me hate what I’m studying and hate school and hate life. And turn me into a very miserable human being.

So why in the world would I want to do that when I can redirect to something else? Inventive Labs is one distinct possibility, but there are so many others. Travel, get a job, look into areas of life that you’ve never seen before. Explore your city, your region, your family, your ethnicity. I mean, you could really do the equivalent of a Montessori education, which is follow your curiosity. So I’m with you 100%, 1000%. And I think this is the ideal time to redirect rather than paying a huge tuition for, at best, a second rate experience in college, if you’re having to do it.

Rick Fiery:

Exactly. And honestly, I think if you look at the college experience for most people, at least for me when I look back at mine, the big… Academics was certainly part of it, but a big part of it was social growth. I was totally introverted and shy and terrified about public speaking and getting up in front of people and doing presentations. And I didn’t have a whole lot of friends in high school, but I got to college and socially, I was able to blossom. And in the fall those opportunities aren’t going to be there. There isn’t going to be the team sports, there isn’t going to be intramurals, there isn’t going to be fraternity rush, there isn’t going to be sorority rush, there isn’t going to be the ability to exercise, there isn’t going to be the ability to isolate and study in a private area, in a library.

Again, it’s just, they’re going to be in a very difficult environment. Plus accommodations are going to be even harder to come by because the classes will be recorded, which is nice. But note taking is still a challenge and extra time is going to have to be negotiated. I’ve seen that with some of the folks that we work with trying to get that done in an online environment. And it just adds to the level of difficulty and stress and anxiety. And there’s enough of that in the world right now. So from our perspective, it’s a golden opportunity to say the time is right to find your focus, to find your drive, to find a direction that you want to head, that you can get excited about. And if you can do that, then the chances of you being successful academically or in a career that you choose, or if you can decide to start up a business right now in the middle of all this, the chances of success are just much, much higher.

So we just were frustrated in seeing that some folks are just saying, “Yeah, I’m going to go back to college in the fall.” And what we’ve heard from many of them is, for 20% or so, it’s going to be an in-person experience that they have things like labs or things that require hands-on. And for the rest, it’s going to be an online experience. And that just doesn’t make a lot of sense to us right now. So that’s why we’re kind of waving the flag and we’re seeing some people send some folks off with ADHD for their very first college experience in this kind of an environment. And it just seems like the wrong thing to do right now.

[SPONSOR BREAK]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

I’d like to take a few moments to talk with you about OmegaBrite CBD, a supplement created by OmegaBrite Wellness. One of our wonderful sponsors of Distraction.

After 20 years of leading the industry in Omega-3s, OmegaBrite is now bringing those same processes to the busy and noisy world of CBD. OmegaBrite and Dr. Carol Locke, who created the whole thing, have set the standards for purity, safety and efficacy. And that matters a lot because the world of CBD is like the Wild West these days. OmegaBrite CBD is organically grown, research driven and the same commitment given to it and excellence as their Omega-3 supplements, which are the best around. I, myself, have been taking the CBD supplement for a couple of months now. And it’s worked wonderfully to help me with my sort of impatient reactivity.

Get OmegaBrite CBD online at omegaBritewellness.com.

[SPONSOR BREAK END]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

When I was in college, I went to Harvard and I took off the year between junior and senior year. And I worked during the summer on Cape Cod. I lived on Cape Cod as a tutor during the daytime. I tutored high school kids in English and math. And then in the evening, I worked as a waiter at a famous restaurant in Chatham called Pates. And I learned how to carry trays on one hand. These huge trays that have six orders of lobster on platters. So I could walk around the restaurant full tilt, holding this huge tray with only one hand and negotiating corners, and then putting down the tray stand and putting the tray on it and serving it and many wonderful experiences as a waiter. It was a wonderful summer. I’ll never forget the customer. We would put the salad dressing on their salads.

They could either get a Caesar salad or a tossed salad. And for the toss salads we offered dressings. And this one diner said, “I want you to put the dressing on my head.” Well, he’d had a few too many drinks. And I said, “I don’t think you want me to do that, sir.” He said, brought out a hundred dollar bill. And he said, “How about if I give you this?” I needed the money. So I said, “Okay, if you really want me to.” So I put a big dollop of Russian dressing on his head. The old table laugh. The restaurant laughed. It was all… So, the summer experience was very worth it. And then for the rest of the year, I went to London and I had gotten some references from my tutor in college, William Alford, who had friends over there.

And my friend, John Glossy, was doing a fellowship over there. And I met this wonderful poet named Judah Thurman, who now writes for the New Yorker and wrote the book that Out Of Africa was based on. But I wanted to try my hand at being a writer. And so I started writing and meeting with these people and I’d saved enough money to not have to get a job over there. And by the end of the summer, I took an interregnum trip down to Greece and took the Orient Express back. And at one point I got off at the wrong train station and here I was in communist Yugoslavia with no passport. A whole series of things happened. And I fell in love and asked a girl to marry me. And she said, no. And, in retrospect turned out she was gay, but hadn’t told me that detail.

But anyway, it was a wonderful year that taught me so much that I wouldn’t have learned had I just gone college straight through. And, yes, it’s true, when I came back, I was out of step. I didn’t graduate with my class. I graduated a year later, but I’m still in the class of 1972. So you don’t lose that. And to the extent it did put me out of sync, it did me a great favor, a much greater benefit than any cost associated with it.

And I decided that as far as being a writer goes, I ought to have a plan B. And so I thought… Because I realized how hard it was to write and make a living. So I went to medical school. That was my plan B. So now I am both a doctor and a writer and having the MD allowed me the freedom, in terms of not having to worry about earning an income, to spend time developing writing.

And now I’m just finishing my 21st book. But this is the kind of experience a young person can have by taking a year off. You can work, you can explore, you can test out a career or you could go to Inventive Labs, which I think would just be a bang up solution for people with ADD. So say more, would you please Rick, about what a person would find if they went to Inventive Labs?

Rick Fiery:

Well, for us, it’s really important, and I think passion is an overused word, but it’s really important for us to understand the person and their strengths and weaknesses and build upon that. And we ask people when they come to take some tests and engage with us, do some group brainstorming. And we kind of learn from working with them kind of where they can fit into a work environment, the kind of work environment that they thrive in, the kinds of things that their brain is really good at. And then we collectively kind of brainstorm a bunch of different career paths and career ideas and directions they could go in their life.

And then the second phase of that is the important part, which I think you just hit on, which is the launch phase, as we call it. And that’s where you really just get out there and try it. You can’t Google your way to a career. You can’t figure out what it’s going to be like to be a computer programmer, writing code eight to 10 hours a day in a cubicle, unless you actually try it and do it. And that sounds glamorous sometimes, but then when the reality hits and the shiny brochure of the career wears off that can be a real challenge for folks. So the second phase, we take them through a launch process where they get out there and they meet people. They job shadow. Last time we did it online, which worked pretty well. You find that some of the higher end folks that we wanted to connect with were more willing to engage in Zoom than they were in-person, but we’ve been successful in both and just meeting and talking to people in the potential field and seeing what it’s going to feel like to have that kind of a role and that kind of a position.

And then once they do that, then we figure out, okay, well, that’s great. Here’s what you look like today. What do you need to make yourself look like to have that kind of career and that kind of job? Does it mean that you need a college education? Yes or no? If it does, what college should you attend? What company do you want to work for? Where do they hire from? Where do you need to live? If you want to be a musician it’s probably Nashville or LA and probably not in Nebraska where one of a potential inventive that we were talking to was living in, that wanted to get into the music industry. So you figure out really what you need to look like. And then the key activities that fall out of that are the things that you need to do. And now you know, “Hey, I think I’m going to love this career. I’m all in. I want to work for that company. I want to be a performer at whatever it is they want to do. And now I know why I’m doing all the different things, all the different work activities that I need to do to make myself look like that.”

So it’s really basic stuff, but we kind of say that you can’t just go to college and get the degree and then wave your degree around and expect that people are just going to hire you. You’ve got to make yourself attractive for a particular job or a particular industry. And college is only one piece of that. There’s lots of other ways to do it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So I’ve hope we’ve enchanted the listeners enough if they have a child, a son or a daughter, or if they themselves are in school and thinking, “Do I want to take now and give a shot to a redirection, an experimental year trying out life and seeing how it feels?” This is an ideal time because distance learning has proven to be not as nearly as engaging and fulfilling as actually being on a college campus, attending live classes and going to live parties and going to real football games, whatever, and falling in love with real people, which is hard to do online and falling in love with real subjects, which is also hard to do online.

Rick Fiery:

Yeah. And it’s not just college. I mean, many folks are looking at careers differently now with the changes that have happened in the economy and things like that. And, instead of diving back into that same career, there’s an opportunity to kind of reset as well.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Absolutely. Well, as always, you have provoked a wonderful conversation. I think your idea is so perfect. I mean, talk about flipping. I’ve been listening to people complain about how bad it is and now I’ll have a nice idea to offer them instead. Say, “Well, my friend, Rick Fiery, points out, this would be the ideal time to say, okay, I’ll come back to college in a year, but for now I’m going to create my own learning experience. And one of the things I’ll take a look at is Inventive Labs.” So Rick, thank you for joining us.

Rick Fiery:

Thanks, Ned. I think it’s been a great conversation. And now the point of it is just to get people to think a little bit differently. With great challenges, sometimes come great opportunities. And I think right now it’s a greatly challenging time on a lot of different levels. And with that comes great opportunities sometimes as well. You just have to look a little bit harder for them.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. But they’re right there. The way we’ve painted it, it’s right there on the horizons, right there for the taking. Don’t become the subject of negative thinking, just find that opportunity and we’ve described it to you pretty well. I think as my daughter said to me many years ago, don’t hold back on life out of fear. She was only 13 when she said that. I couldn’t believe it, but it’s such a good line.

Well, listen, thanks a million. I know we’ll have you on again soon. If you want to learn more about Rick and his wonderful group, go to InventiveLabs.org. It’s a unique and positively transformational experience for a person of any age, but particularly for people in their late teens, 20s, early 30s. And that’s it for today.

Please reach out to us with your questions and show ideas. We love hearing from you. Love, love, love. Write an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected]. And again, please be sure to visit inventivelabs.org, to learn about Rick Fiery, Tom Bergeron, and the amazing piece of paradise that they’ve created up there. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the beautiful, talented, and wonderfully blessed Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer and editor is the ever grumpy, funny, effervescent, Pat Keogh.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by Omega Brite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness. Creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years, OmegaBrite CBD, safe third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

Share:
Managing Your ADHD in the Pandemic

Managing Your ADHD in the Pandemic

Based on the emails we’ve received, lots of our listeners are struggling with their ADHD right now. Dr. H addresses several questions in this episode including getting diagnosed while in quarantine, educational accommodations, impulsive versus compulsive, and the upside of being forced to slow down. And on a lighter note, Ned learns he’s not alone in his ADHD cooking misadventures!

Do you have a question or comment for Dr. Hallowell? Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Episode image by Daniel Xavier from Pexels.

Listen to this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. And I want to thank all of you who’ve been reaching out to us with your comments and questions. We love them. We love them. We love them. We really, really do. So today we are going to prove it by devoting the entire episode to responding to your emails and questions that we’ve received over the past few weeks.

My producer, the incredibly talented Sarah Guertin joins me now, virtually of course, and she will read to me your emails so I can respond. I have not seen these before. So what I will be offering is an off the top of my head off, the cuff, shoot from the hip immediate response, which I hope will have some sense to it. So Sarah, welcome and would you like to read me the first email?

Sarah Guertin:

Certainly. Thank you. It sounds like you might’ve just gotten another one too.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah, yeah.

Sarah Guertin:

Okay. This first email is from a listener named Maria. She wrote, “My eight-year-old son has been recently diagnosed with ADHD. His struggles were the same as me when I was growing up. As a 35-year-old woman and now professional accountant, I can see ADHD traits encroaching my everyday work life. Examples of this are having difficulty focusing on reading a long technical document and regularly interrupting coworkers. I’m fun to be around, but as I continue to move into more lucrative positions, I’m afraid my ADHD like symptoms will hinder my ability to learn more complex technical issues and to be taken seriously. With COVID-19 rampant, would an online ADHD specialist be able to give a proper diagnosis that can be used to start behavioral therapy and possibly if needed be prescribed medication? Thank you for your help. I love your podcasts. Stay safe.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

The answer is yes, an emphatic yes. And that’s something I’ve been learning during this pandemic. Pretty much every day I do just what you asked. I’ll make a diagnosis over Zoom on a new patient. Someone that I’ve never met in-person. The same principles apply. You take a history and you reach a diagnosis. So yes indeed and I would urge you to do that because if you do have ADHD and it sounds like you do, getting treatment for it can make an enormous difference.

And the treatment is not just medication. It begins with education and learning about it, what it is, what it isn’t, learning how it plays out in your life, in your relationships, and a number of different ways of dealing with it, which may or may not include stimulant medication. But the answer to your question, yes indeed. You can call my office in Sudbury or my office in New York, set up a Zoom session and I will get on the line and tell you whether you have this mysteriously fascinating condition or not and then take it from there.

If you want to know how to reach my office, just go to my website drhallowell.com.

Sarah Guertin:

Okay. Next up is an email from Jessica. She has actually reached out to us in the past, but this time she writes, “I love listening to your podcast and I truly appreciate all the different advice and suggestions you give all of us. You previously recommended me to find a job that best fits my personality and a place that I am happy. After juggling my finances and balancing my life, I took an opportunity and relocated from Southern California to Northern California and became a teacher.”

Sarah Guertin:

“I work with students that are in grade six to nine, with moderate to severe special education. I can honestly tell you that. I love my job. I am passionate about working with them. I learned something new every day. They love me and accept me with all of my disabilities. My struggle is standardized tests. I need to successfully complete my CBEST and CSET.”

Sarah Guertin:

And I looked those up. Those are California educator exams, but she says “I have failed the test and I have always struggled with all standardized tests. When I was in high school I almost didn’t graduate because of the same reason. I am constantly studying, but nothing seems to help me. What advice can you recommend?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, if you have ADHD, which could very well be if you’re having trouble on standardized tests, medication could make all the difference in the world. So I would suggest you go get an evaluation. And again, as I just said, you can do that online during the pandemic and find out if you fit the profile.

Then if you do, you’re entitled both to extra time on the test, on the standardized test as well as if medication is helpful, medication to help you pass it. I had a patient this year, a wonderful doctor who had taken the board exam, which is sort of the equivalent of what you’re trying to pass four times and failed every time. And when we diagnosed her ADD and got her on medication and got her extra time on the test. This time, the fifth try, she passed with flying colors. And that’s not an uncommon story.

So we ADDers often have tremendous trouble with standardized tests, but the combination of extra time and perhaps medication could really make a huge difference for you. So I would get an evaluation and see if this would do the trick for you. Because this is a good chance that it would. Just go to drhallowell.com and we can set something up.

Sarah Guertin:

Okay. This email is from Chuck in Georgia. He wrote, “the instant pot story has me laughing and feeling better about my ADD cooking. I’m 55 now, and I’ve become a good cook and baker over the years, despite some failures.” So obviously he’s referring to that episode you released about your instant pot story.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Sarah Guertin:

But he says, “In college, I was making Kraft macaroni and cheese. I boiled the water and put the pasta in the water to boil the pasta according to the recipe. After boiling the noodles for the time stated on the package, I opened the cheese packet, added the cheese and stirred. I waited a few minutes and the macaroni just wasn’t coming together like it was supposed to do.”

“What I hadn’t done was pour the water and pasta into a colander before returning the cooked pasta into the pot, and then adding the cheese. I had poured the cheese into the boiling water and was waiting for the cheese and pasta to, I don’t know, cook down.”

He says, “If you enjoy this story, feel free to ask about my chicken curry and the wok or my bean burgers. Thanks for your ADD tips, advice and encouragement. They helped me. Thanks even more for Landmark College. My step son is a student there and really developing academically and as a man.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Oh, that’s wonderful. I could see, in fact, I have made Kraft macaroni and cheese, and I almost did just what you did. I almost forgot that you got to drain the pasta before you put it in the cheese. So I could totally identify this. You’d pour in the cheese and then you’re watching it, hoping that it’ll turn into something that looks like macaroni and cheese, but all you’re getting is macaroni and cheese soup. That’s very, very funny.

I just did a little video I was talking about the downside of ADD, and I told the story on myself where I always have grapefruit juice and coffee for breakfast. And I take milk in my coffee. So I had the coffee cup there and I had the glass for the grapefruit juice and I had the grapefruit juice container and the half gallon of milk.

What did I do? I poured the grapefruit juice into the coffee and it’s just why would I do that? Well, I just wasn’t thinking as they say. But then I said the solution is structured. So from now on, I’m going to have the coffee cup and the glass for the grapefruit juice far enough apart, so that I’d actually have to think before I realized what I was pouring.

And now that won’t be foolproof, but it’ll be a step in the right direction other than my point was, don’t try to change yourself, change your system. It’s a lot easier to change your system than it is to change yourself. But thank you for your lovely story. I can just see the Kraft macaroni and cheese and turning into soup. Okay and thank you for your kind words about Landmark. What a great place that is. So do we have another one coming, Sarah?

Sarah Guertin:

We sure do. This next one is a little bit longer and I had to shorten it a little bit, but it’s from a woman named Rosemary. She wrote, “I grew up with a mother who was a hoarder and subsequently with the public attention to the problem of hoarding over the last 10 or more years, I came to understand that my grandfather was also a hoarder.”

“My sister and I grew up in conditions where the houses we lived in were always full of garbage, cockroaches, cat, feces, and mice when we lived in places where cats weren’t allowed.” Yeah, she says, “We moved to frequently due to evictions. Hoarding is treated as symptomatic of an anxiety disorder. I suffered from generalized anxiety disorder for several years following my husband’s death and cognitive behavioral therapy helped me a great deal.”

“More recently over the last two or so years, I’ve basically diagnosed myself as falling under the umbrella of what’s called ADHD. I haven’t been formally diagnosed. I am hyper-focused when it relates to my research or other things I find interesting, but I get years behind on taxes and paperwork is a nightmare for me.”

“I’ve always been very impulsive and extroverted, although I think I’m mellowing with age, currently I’m 49. In some, has anyone thought about a connection between hoarding and ADHD? I know that people with ADHD could also have other co-morbid problems. Maybe in my family, ADHD and anxiety have combined in certain ways that led to hoarding or problems that on the surface look a lot like hoarding, any thoughts?”

And then she followed it up with just another quick question. She’s also wondering about the difference between impulsivity and compulsivity saying she doesn’t quite understand the difference because when she gets an impulse, she often feels compelled to act on it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hmm, that’s interesting. Let’s start with the last question. Impulsive is simply acting without thinking. So you see an apple on the teacher’s desk and you snatch it without a plan, as opposed to someone who has a conduct disorder, they plan to take the apple when the teacher isn’t looking. So it’s a question of volition and that’s contrasting impulsive behavior versus a conduct disorder, low conscience, that kind of thing.

Now compulsive, compulsive is sort of akin to an addiction and you are compelled. You feel compelled to not step on the crack or avoid the number 13,, or not open an umbrella inside as in obsessive compulsive disorder, OCD, the compulsions or these irrational feelings that you have to do something. They’re not impulsive. They’re not spontaneous out of nowhere. They just rise up and they’re usually irrational, superstitious like stepping on cracks or not stepping on cracks.

So you’re quite right. You, you do feel compelled and it’s against reason. You’ve you feel compelled not to step on a crack, even though “that stepping on a crack is no problem.” People step on cracks all the time, but in your mind, your imagination plays a trick on you. And you conclude that it’s extremely dangerous to step on a crack. And so you’re compelled not to.

Impulsive, you suddenly do something without thinking. Compulsive, you are forced to do something out of irrational needs. Now you can also not have it be OCD-like. You can have compulsions like compulsive gambling, which is close to an addiction, sort of cousin to an addiction. Compulsive gambling, compulsive drinking compulsive use of the internet, compulsive shopping.

If you’re on your way to developing what could be called an addiction. So a compulsion in that sense is like a bad habit. It’s hard for you to stop gambling. You’d like to, but it’s hard for you to stop, or it’s hard for you to stop drinking. You’d like to, you’re a compulsive drinker. Or you’re a compulsive user of the internet, which applies to an awful lot of people these days.

You would like to do it less, but you can’t seem to willpower your way to doing it less. And so you are compulsive in that sense. So there are different meanings of compulsive. Now, as for your possible ADD, yes, ADD and hoarding are often found together. And the good news is if you get your ADD treated, you might find it a lot easier to get past the generalized anxiety disorder.

And while the CBT, the cognitive behavioral therapy helped you after the death of your husband, which is very sad, by the way, it sounds like he was pretty young if you were only 49. I’m sorry to hear that. That must’ve been pretty tough for you. But if you are the cousin to hoarding, generalized anxiety disorder, sometimes it goes away when you treat the ADD. Because one of the reasons for anxiety is feeling out of control and people with add often feel out of control.

They don’t know how they’re going to screw up next. They’re waiting for the next mistake to be made or the next reprimand to come their way. And so it creates a very anxious state to live in. And oftentimes when you get the ADD treated, you feel more in control, which immediately reduces your anxiety. Same thing, by the way, a lot of people are diagnosed with depression don’t really have depression. They’re just bummed out because they’re not doing as well as they know they could do.

And when they get their ADD treated, their performance improves markedly. And so what had looked like depression goes away because it wasn’t really depression. It was simply a feeling of bummed out because I’m not where I ought to be. You do that for a while and it can look for all the world like you’re depressed, but you’re not really.

Because once you get your ADD treated and your performance improves both the anxiety and the depression go away. This leads to one of the common mistakes that gets made is that someone goes to see a doctor who’s not familiar with ADHD and gets diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and gets put on a SSRI like Prozac or Zoloft. And that is not what they need.

It’ll help them a little bit, but what they really need as far as medication goes is a stimulant medication, which will help them focus, which will reduce their anxiety and reduce what had looked like depression. But wasn’t really depression.

Again, it comes back to how important it is to get the full and complete diagnosis and not treat symptomatically the anxiety and the perhaps depression.

So yes, go get yourself diagnosed and I hope the explanation of compulsive versus impulsive made sense to you as well. Thank you so much, Rosemary. Please keep writing to us. Do we have another one, Sarah?

Sarah Guertin:

We do. This one comes from a listener named Cynthia. She wrote, “My nine-year-old son and I are both ADHD experiencers. I have found your podcast to be excellent and wanted to respond about vitamin connection during quarantine. My hope is that society will appreciate the value of real flesh and blood interactions after this time. I am a musician and piano teacher and I’m hopeful people will appreciate music and making it with others more after this.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Oh, I think there’s no way in the world that we won’t. I think we’re all missing human contact. I think we’re all missing what you get face-to-face that you can’t get. I’m doing my whole practice now via Zoom and thank God for it because I couldn’t do it at all were it not for that. But it’s not the same thing as being in-person with someone.

The depth of contact as one of my colleagues said to me the other day, the depth of contact is so much greater in-person than it can be virtually. Still, the virtual connection is good enough to get the work done, but it isn’t the same. And I think you’re right, this a shelter at home and quarantine is teaching us the value of what I call the human moment, as opposed to the electronic moment.

The human moment is just so much richer and fuller. The electronic moment will suffice, but it’s not as full and rich as the human moment. We have another one, Sarah?

Sarah Guertin:

We sure do. Got a couple more for ya. This is from Lauren, who also happens to be an ADHD coach. She wrote, “Hi there. I just listened to your short podcast about how not being around people is tiring.” What we were just talking about. “My ADHD 16-year-old son was telling me this last week. He doesn’t have many close friends in high school so I trying to understand what he was missing.”

“He said, it’s just being around people, seeing them and interacting at any level. He has been more tired, yet not able to sleep very well. It is interesting and makes sense. The funny part is he also says his morale is better at home without the social stresses of fitting in, in school and whatnot. Such funny contradictions, yet they make sense at the same time. Thanks for your insight and encouragement of your podcasts.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, thank you. Thank you, Lauren. Yeah, it’s tiring. Not being around people is tiring. My wife said to me the other day, “Why am I so tired?” And it’s because we’re not getting vitamin connect. We’re not getting the human connection. She has me and I have her, but it’s just the two of us in the house. We connect. She’s a therapist also, we connect with our patients or clients over Zoom or telephone, but it is tiring.

I think it is because we don’t appreciate how important vitamin connect is. We don’t appreciate how important those human moments are. And it’s also interesting you said your son’s morale is better at home because the social stresses at school can also be a bummer. So you give with one hand and take away with the other. But when we come out of this, when we can get back to whatever we get back to I think one of the things that we’ll be celebrating and rejoicing, what a great thing it will be to be together.

I mean, an important part of my life and my wife’s life is the church. We attend Episcopal church in Cambridge, Massachusetts called Christ Church. We’ve been going there ever since we got married 32 years ago and it’s a big deal. I love going. People often talk about going to church is a burden.

No, for me, it’s a real replenishment. I loved the music. I loved the liturgy. I loved the stories from the Bible. I love the sermons and I love most of all the community. We don’t have that anymore. We have a virtual church, but I can’t on Sunday morning, go sit in that beautiful space and hear that beautiful music sung by living heart beating humans.

And my wife and I, we both really miss it, even though the church is continuing in its own way. We miss that community. And I’m also a big sports fan, season ticket holder to the Patriots. And we just lost our great Tom Brady, but I don’t know what it’ll be like if we have to play games with no one in the stadium.

When it’s taken away, you really notice how much you appreciate something when you can’t have it. And I think the human connection with other people in a crowd, be it a congregation or a football game or a shopping mall for that matter, all of those were essential parts of my life. I’m a pretty simple guy. Those are my pleasures and I can’t do them. You just go down that list.

Can’t go to a football game, can’t go to church. Can’t go to a movie. Can’t go to a restaurant. Can’t go to a shopping mall. It’s like, “golly” and nothing against my wife and she has nothing against me, but it’s pretty thin gruel, when that’s all you’ve got. And she would say, “What do you mean I’m thin gruel?”

Well, I’m thin gruel put it like that. We need more, we need more sustenance. Then we can get just hanging out, the two of us. It’s hard. We go for walks, we do and we wave at other people walking, but can’t get too close and it’s not easy. And your point is a very good one. When we can get back to it, it’ll be pretty wonderful.

In the meantime, we’re making the best of it and I hope this podcast is providing you with some form of connection. That’s certainly our aim in doing it is to connect with you all because you are our reason for doing it. So Sarah, you have another, I think.

Sarah Guertin:

Yes, I have one more. We love all of the emails, but this one I thought was especially touching. So it says, “Hi, I’ve been listening to your recent podcasts in the current COVID world and how it has impacted our lives. I wanted to share my personal experience. I have a 21-year-old son who has been diagnosed with ADHD, depression, anxiety, social phobias, addiction, lying, et cetera.”

“You could use them as an example, in every chapter of a textbook on ADHD. We have been deep in the trenches for many years. A year ago, he returned home from an unsuccessful college experience and his mental health was very fragile. We doubled down on the therapy and other resources, but I didn’t see much improvement.”

“Then COVID-19 became our new normal, the world stopped. He lost his job and has been home for six weeks now. I’ve been so impressed with how much he has improved. To me, it seems like the world has slowed down to his speed and he can now function productively. He has been great. He keeps a somewhat normal daily routine takes his medication daily, does a little work around the house, has maintained his personal space, does his own laundry and exercises.”

“All of his therapy has moved to virtual sessions, including a weekly group therapy. We have been given the luxury of time to figure out that this is all he can handle right now. We will build on this, but this slow world has been a miracle for him. He was obviously overwhelmed before.”

“I’m a little wary of putting too much weight on his success right now, but it sure is a bright spot for me in a world that really could use some good news. Thanks for all of your words of wisdom. I really enjoy your podcast. Sarah.” Not me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Not you. What a lovely, lovely story. That’s so wonderful that given a chance to slow down, all those problems could sort of leave him, drift away, move into the rear view mirror. He needed chance to slow down, have some structure, have some vitamin connect from you. He’s getting what he needs in terms of structure, love, attention, and a pace that he can handle.

And I think success does breed success. So now he’s learning some adaptive life habits that will continue and will strengthen and become durable and will serve him. It’s a great thing seeing how a change in environment, a change in pace, a change in demands. What a difference that can make. That’s a wonderful, wonderful story.

And those of you who are listening, that’s quite a list of problems. He had ADHD, depression, anxiety, social phobia, addiction, lying. That’s why I don’t like the labels because you bury someone under all those labels and the real health can often get lost because you tend not to identify, diagnose health.

We tend not to list strengths or potential strengths, but those are the very factors that have been able to emerge and carry him now that he’s been allowed to have some pressure off and live at a pace that he can handle.

Thanks so much for your email, Sarah. It’s a wonderful story and a very hopeful story as well. Thank you, all of our listeners and sending questions and comments. Please, please, please keep sending them. If we didn’t get to your question today, we will get to it in the next podcast we do on listener comments and questions.

And if you have a question or comment, please, please send it to us at [email protected]. We really live off of your suggestions, comments, and questions. And as you see today, we do take them seriously and answer them to the best of my ability.

In any case, thank you for listening. Thank you for joining our community. Please tell your friends about us as we really want to grow and reach more and more people.

Distraction is a project of Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the amazingly talented Sarah Guertin and our audio engineer and editor is the also amazingly talented Pat Keogh. I am Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you for listening.

Share:
4 Core Areas for Self-Assessment

4 Core Areas for Self-Assessment

There are four basic pieces that form the foundation for executive functioning. In this episode you’ll learn what they are and how to look at these areas to assess how you can help yourself.

If you’ve explored coaching before and it didn’t work, or just have trouble making things stick, Rebecca Shafir, an ADHD coach at the Hallowell Center, offers concrete ideas in this episode on how to make lasting improvements in your life.

Email Rebecca Shafir at [email protected].

Or contact Rebecca at the Hallowell Center by calling 978-287-0810.

Rebecca’s book: The Zen of Listening

Check out Focusmate.com for distraction-free productivity help (mentioned in this episode).

Share your thoughts with us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Click here to listen to this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell. And welcome to Distraction. Today, I have a very special guest. She’s an old friend, and she works in my office in Sudbury. In addition to having her own practice, she’s a multi-talented woman. Not only is she a black belt in karate, but she is the author of a wonderful book, and is a speech language pathologist, and she is a coach extraordinary. She’s developed her own system of coaching, and whether you be a student or adult professional, Becky will absolutely help you, and you’ll have fun in the process. She’s one of the best in the business. So I am very, very happy to have her join us. And let’s just jump right in. Becky, welcome to Distraction.

Rebecca Shafir:

Oh, thank you for inviting me Ned, I really appreciate it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, it’s wonderful to have you. You told me you wanted to talk about core coaching, is that correct?

Rebecca Shafir:

Yes. It’s interesting how it all got started, is that I was working with many of your patients with executive functioning and ADHD, and they reported trying many strategies for time management focus and follow through, et cetera. But to no avail, they were really trying to be better and better themselves, and do well in their work and at school. But they were just having trouble making things stick. And they had explored coaching with some very fine coaches, by the way. But again, the strategies and tactics weren’t sticking.

Rebecca Shafir:

So I asked myself, “What’s another way to go with these clients? What do most of these folks have in common?” Number one, I noticed they have poor sleep or wacky sleep patterns. Number two, they were low on exercise. Number three, they were emotionally dysregulated. To some extent they were anxious, procrastinating, depressed, and highly vulnerable to distraction, and their accountability for how they spent their time or activities was rather poor.

Rebecca Shafir:

So I said, “Huh, interesting.” Those core skills and routines form the foundation for executive functioning. So just like a house that’s built on a shaky foundation will topple, for me to ignore those core skills and routines just seemed foolish. So I said, “Becky, how could I make a coaching experience more effective and positive? If I could help them strengthen their core skills and routines, what would come of that?” So identified those core skills and routines, those four basic core pieces. And so I noticed that as I addressed those versus throwing bags of solutions at them, that we started to notice that the patients were becoming more enabled and more successful in implementing the strategies. So that’s my approach.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So, tell us about how it goes. What do you do with them? And by the way, who is the, them? Who is your target client?

Rebecca Shafir:

College bound students, student that are already in college, working adults and entrepreneurs.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And then what is the method? Say they call you up and they say, “Becky help me achieve my goals.” Walk us through what it would look like.

Rebecca Shafir:

I like to assess their current level of performance, their medical history. Are they taking medications or not? What are they doing now? What’s working, what’s not, what has been their experience in coaching before, because I want to know what not to bother doing again, or to identify what went wrong in that coaching experience. And then I ask them a very interesting question. I’ll say, “Can you give me a vision of yourself when you won’t be coaching anymore?” And that makes them pause a bit and go, “Boy, I never thought of that.” And I say, “This is important to determining what our target is. How do we know when we’re done?” I mean, this could go on for years.

So they tell me their vision and I often ask them to write it down. And sometimes they have a real hard time doing that, which is what we end up doing some times in our first session, is for getting us at least a general idea of what they’re striving for. So once we have that vision statement, then I want to check on their motivation for following through with coaching. And this is like the moment of truth Ned, because I’ll ask them, “List me your why’s, your W-H-Y-S, your why’s for wanting to meet that vision, to achieve that. And that’s oftentimes for pause, because sometimes their reasons for coming to coaching aren’t their reasons, they’re encouraged by somebody else.

But oftentimes they have a good, strong set of why’s, and it’s things like, “Because I want to be successful, I want to be able to hold a job, and I want to be able to make money and have a good quality of life for myself, and have a sense of self confidence.” I’ll say, “Great, just keep listing those why’s, because those why’s are going to be the drivers when we want to slack off a bit.” Then I’ll say, “How about those why nots? Why not make a change? Why not take advantage of coaching?” And they’ll say, “Well, there’s plenty of those. If I don’t make a change, I’m going to lose my job,” Or “My marriage won’t last,” Or “I’ll be living in my parents’ basement.” I mean, all sorts of horrible things. And I’ll say, “Great. Because we need to have those listed too, combine those with your why’s, then I know you’re motivated, you have some real strong drivers for this process, because changes small as I try to make it is not easy.” Are you with me so far?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah.

Rebecca Shafir:

Okay. From there, we list our areas of improvement. They may say, “Well, I want to manage my time better.” And they’ll make a list. “I want to be able to focus better.” A list of things, and I’ll be, “Okay, you have many objectives here, but we know not to throw bags of solutions at you. That didn’t work before, why don’t we be strategic and brainstorm together to find one small step that we can make?” I like to call it go micro. Let’s find one thing that we can change that could be a catalyst to making all those other objectives easier to attain. And we’ll say, “Okay, let’s figure this out.”

So sometimes that one step is as simple, and you won’t believe it, is as simple as putting out their exercise clothes right by their bed in the morning, or it could be a little bit from a greater step such as, “Well, let’s come up with a calendar system that really works for you.” But I like to start small, because they’ll be looking at me like, “Well, that’s not enough.” I’ll say, “If we start small, then we can bank on making that particular do activity consistent. It’ll be slightly outside of your comfort zone, which is a good thing. But if you can make it consistent, then we can take the next step.” And we build on those challenges.

And what often happens is that we have a trickle down effect, where by making those one or two small changes, well, then they’re a little bit more confident in being able to implement a strategy such as looking at how to manage their time, or their money, or how to get things done.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So once they get past these elementary steps, then how do you take them into greater success?

Rebecca Shafir:

So we meet weekly, sometimes a couple times a week, and we talk about-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And this is over Zoom or in person?

Rebecca Shafir:

Oh, yes. It can be Zoom, it can be FaceTime, Skype are my favorite. And in between though, Ned, what I ask them to do is, “Send me a text, send me an email in between our sessions, let me know what you’re struggling with or how things went or any successes, large or small. I can make and prepare ourselves best for our session when we meet.” So I gather those, and we start off going over the progress with that one step, and we work out the kinks in that one step until it’s consistent. And we assess, and we say, “Okay, if we fell off the wagon, no shame, no blame,” I make that very clear from the beginning. “I want you to learn how to solve problems without getting emotional about it. And stepping back 30,000 feet and looking at the landscape of what went wrong there, what happened?”

So this way we’re starting to step back from problems and look at them more strategically. We take on them the next step. If a couple of weeks they’ve been consistent with that one step, we say, “Okay, what’s the next thing that we can do?” Well, maybe if you’re having troubles with sleep, we might try to normalize just with small tweaks that’s sleep regimen. That might be a real good starting point for them. That might be their one thing. And that can start as simple as waking up about the same time every day.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So say they’ve done these little steps, what do you do to really have them take off? Tell me a story of a great success that you’ve coached.

Rebecca Shafir:

Oh, certainly. No problem. I have a computer engineer, he writes software and he has ADHD, and he was really struggling with getting things done, managing distractions at all. Perfect example. And we started off addressing what he’s done before and what worked, what didn’t, and he was really having troubles on the verge of losing his job. So I said, “Okay, let’s look at your core. Let’s see what’s going on there. What’s your sleep like?” Well, his sleep was all wacky. He was going to bed some nights at two in the morning, others at four in the morning, sometimes he fall asleep at seven, and his sleep schedule is all messed up, which accounted in great part four his irritability and not being able to get things done and all that.

So, our one step for him was saying, “Okay, you’re going to try to wake up about the same time every day. However you do it, the same time every day.” Well, what we started to notice with that one step is that he was on time for meetings with his boss. Now that was huge, and his boss gave him a lot of kudos for that, and he felt good and he felt prepared. And from then he was able to say, “Wait a minute, now that I know what my plan is for the week, I know what I’m supposed to do, I had that meeting, I’m not flailing and just grabbing at anything, and I’m able to get started and accomplish a little bit more.”

So this is how I built things up with Steve. Steve started to gain more momentum, he started to feel more confident, and then I said, “Okay, now that you’re waking up about the same every day, why don’t we try then the next level. Let’s try to say, if you were to get a little exercise in, might your focus be just a little better.” And he says, “Well, I don’t have time to work out, I only have like 15, 20 minutes.” I said, “Well, great. Peloton has a free app. You have a bike, or you have a format, 10 minutes of interval training will kick up your energy and focus to endure you to the end of the workday. Let’s give it a try, you like to exercise anyway, Steve.” He goes, “Yeah, I do.”

So one of the main things I do to help these clients flourish in their successes is to change their negative self talk to constructive self-talk. Like, “Hey, what did we do well, what do we need to improve upon? Let’s start changing the language of the way we speak to ourselves.”

Number two, many of my clients don’t know how to prioritize many tasks. And it’s just because they lacked some type of a criteria for doing so. So I said, let’s together, decide on a prioritizing criteria, and often involve things that are time sensitive and things that have strong personal value, like spending time with their family or having the connection with people. But we would look down and focus on what they need and what is important, or what they’re motivated to get done today.

And then, the third suggestion I had is for folks who are listening to look into a wonderful website, https://www.focusmate.com/. And this is live partner, that is live on the internet that you choose, maybe similar to you, like another graduate student or another entrepreneur, and you agree to sit down and do work together online, virtually. He’s doing his tasks online and you as the client, you’re doing your work at the same time. And everybody’s keeping everybody engaged and focused, and it works really, really well. Have you ever heard of that?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

No. It sounds wonderful. That’s great. You just discovered that on your own?

Rebecca Shafir:

I did.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, aren’t you special? You are special. Focusmate.com, that sounds great.

Rebecca Shafir:

Yes, it’s a virtual study buddy.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And then the final one?

Rebecca Shafir:

The final one is, know your biological prime time for getting certain tasks done over others.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Now, what does that mean? I know you abbreviated it BPT.

Rebecca Shafir:

Yes. So biological prime time, is there a certain time of day when you write the best?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

No, it really varies hugely. It varies on the day, sometimes not often, but sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon, and sometimes in the evening. I’m unusual that way. Most writers have a definite time, see, I can’t do that, I can’t have a definite time. And so I’ve learned over 40 years of writing to catch it when it hits. And that’s what I do. So my biological prime time varies from day to day.

Rebecca Shafir:

Oh, but you can gauge it. You know what the day’s going to be like, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

No, I don’t. I know it when it hits. And next thing you know, I pull out my laptop and start writing. Unless I’m in the middle of seeing a patient or doing a podcast with Becky.

Rebecca Shafir:

Well, for the rest of us, many of us, we might be better between, let’s say, 11 o’clock and two in the afternoon.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah, and I think most people are like that. I think I’m an anomaly. Most people are what you’re describing. They have a reliable BPT, and your suggestion is to save your most taxing, difficult mental work for your BPT.

Rebecca Shafir:

That’s right. And do the folding of the laundry at 10 o’clock at night. So, sometimes that can make those more odious tasks look a little bit more tolerable and palatable if we set a schedule to apply those tasks to the best time for us to do them. That’s a great tip that’s often ignored. So there we go.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This is so wonderful. So to sum up, you’ve developed over your many years of coaching, a method you call core coaching, right?

Rebecca Shafir:

Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And your core method includes attention to sleep, exercise, emotional self regulation, and some degree of accountability, right?

Rebecca Shafir:

Correct.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And then you have a process that you reviewed with us, which you found is very effective in helping people, regardless of their actual level of helping them achieve even greater success. See what a good listener I am here. You concluded with your four tips of constructive self-talk and learning how to prioritize, and you referred us to focusmate.com. And then you urged us to work within our BPT, I love the BPT, or biological prime time, whatever that might happen to be, and I confessed that I’m an anomaly. I don’t know when it is, I just try to grab it when it comes. Now, if someone wanted to read one of your books, you go to Amazon and what’s the name of your book? The Zen of Listening, right?

Rebecca Shafir:

Zen of Listening. It’s now on audible.com too.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Wonderful, wonderful. So look for Rebecca Shafir, on Amazon. And if they wanted to get a coaching appointment with you, how would they do that?

Rebecca Shafir:

Sure. They can call the Hallowell Center at 978-287-0810 or they can email me at [email protected].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Or they can call the Hallowell center in Sudbury, 978-287-0810. And I can’t recommend Becky highly enough, I’ve known her, I don’t know how many years Becky, must be going on 30 years.

Rebecca Shafir:

Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

… Because I saw a photograph of her in the newspaper demonstrating karate. And one thing led to another, next thing I know we’re working together. And she’s one of the most multi-talented people I know. She can be a speaker, she can be a writer, she can be kicking butt in karate, she can be coaching, she can be doing speech language pathology. She’s endlessly curious for finding new innovative techniques. And if you happen to go to see her, you’ll be thrilled because she’ll be probably interesting you and something that you’d never even heard of. She does that with me all the time. A wonderfully brilliant multi-talented exceptional woman, Rebecca, Becky Shafir. Thank you so much for coming and joining us on Distraction.

Rebecca Shafir:

Thank you so much Ned, I hope it’s a help.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay, well, that’ll do it for today. If you’d like to reach out to Becky, as she said, you can find her at my center in Sudbury, Mass, by calling 978-287-0810 or go to hallowellcenter.org, or email Becky directly at [email protected]. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. The podcast is recorded and mixed by the mixed up, but absolutely delightful, Pat Keogh. And our producer is the weld produced and absolutely brilliant Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell, and thank you all so much for listening. We are banding together during this trying time and hope to bring you some interests as well as entertainment. Be well, stay safe.

Share:
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Distance Learning in a Pandemic

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Distance Learning in a Pandemic

Today’s conversation focuses on the current state of distance learning and its effects on students. Adam Man, Head of Forman School, a prep school in Connecticut for high-school students who learn differently, joins Ned to talk about how his students are adapting and offers advice for those who are struggling, regardless of whether or not they have ADHD.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Forman School in Litchfield, Connecticut.

Share your thoughts with us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Adam Man:

I think there’s very few students who say, “You know what? I’d like to sit all day passively, shift gears among subjects, kind of every 45 to 50 minutes, take in exactly what the teacher’s telling me and be able to give it back to them exactly the way they want”. I mean, I look at that and think, “I don’t know who that was designed for. I don’t know who that student is.” But that’s somehow who we’ve imagined what our educational system should be.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell, and thank you so much for joining me. If you have a school aged child or a teenager, by now you are very familiar with the concept of distance learning. The pandemic has certainly seen to that. But students with learning differences like ADHD or dyslexia can have extra challenges making the leap to learning online or learning from home.

Today, my guest can offer some help. Adam Man, a wonderful man, indeed an educator par excellence, is the head of the Forman School in Litchfield, Connecticut, a school that I’ve visited a few times and a really wonderful institution. It’s a traditional college prep boarding and day school dedicated to students who learn differently, i.e. really smart creative kids. Adam’s students are now learning from home. He joins me today to talk about how things are going. So Adam Man, welcome to Distraction.

Adam Man:

Thank you, Ned. It is a pleasure to be here. I’m a big fan, so I’m thrilled to be with you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, we’re thrilled to have you, that’s for sure. And how the world has changed, huh?

Adam Man:

Oh, very much so. Who would have thought just a couple of months ago that we would, such a dramatic change in all of education would occur. It is astounding.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Right. How are your kids handling it?

Adam Man:

I think like most kids. There are the challenges. I think for our students, just the sudden momentous change that took place is startling. I mean, the students left on spring break thinking they’ll be back in a couple of weeks and before they know it, we’re saying, “I’m sorry, you can’t come back. We’re going to need to work with you remotely for the remainder of the year.” And I think it’s especially challenging for our seniors because, I mean, all of them looking forward to all the traditions that we have throughout the spring and then obviously graduation and that’s just not going to happen. And I think that probably has been the greatest challenge for our students going forward, in that particular piece.

Adam Man:

I’m very impressed with the way our faculty responded and how quickly they moved and the amount of individual attention that they’re giving our students as they work remotely. I’m very, very proud of because I think that’s a key part of what we do. We know that this is not the ideal setting for a student with ADHD to be cooped up all day, in their house, with their siblings and their parents and not be able to go out, not have the routines and structures of school as well as the social interaction, the chance to run around outside and play sports, all those kinds of things. I think that makes it really hard for students, in general, not just for students with ADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. And what tips might you have for kids who are facing a June with no graduation ceremony or, probably more importantly, kids who are every single day trying to learn online but finding it’s pretty difficult.

Adam Man:

Sure. I would say, first is you think about, I know that you have said this as well to families, to students is routines and structures are good things. And I’m not talking about a military march and step routine and structure, but rather predictability, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes.

Adam Man:

I know what today looks like. I know what tomorrow is going to look like. I know what my routine will be. Those things are really healthy and valuable and all those students, teenagers, want to push those boundaries all the time. That’s kind of in their DNA, that they’re hard wired at this age to do it. And our job is to push back, right? To say, “Oh no, there are structures and routines for a reason.” And absolutely you’re going to have to be flexible, certainly in this time with those, but it is really important for kids to know, “There is a predictable pattern of what my day is going to look like. There are structures and things that I can count on.” That is really key for kids at this point who just feel like everything has gone south.

Adam Man:

But going back to your first point about seniors and missing these traditions and my hope is, certainly, they’re at schools that are thinking about ways to recognize and honor their seniors throughout the spring and that their graduation may not be the one that they’re hoping for all in person, et cetera. But I would also hope that they’re planning on connecting with those students, with those teachers that were important to them at some future date to celebrate their experience. That knowing that there will be a future date where they will be able to be in person and they will be able to connect both with their peers, but also with those teachers that were important in their lives.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And what can’t be taken away from them is their experience.

Adam Man:

Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Maybe the day to celebrate that experience won’t happen as planned, but the experience itself, which after all is what’s being celebrated, is immutable and emblazoned in their memories forever.

Adam Man:

Absolutely. Absolutely. Couldn’t agree with you more.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

How about the actual act of learning online, of using Zoom or whatever platform you’re using? Have you learned anything about that, that we can pass along to other students or parents?

Adam Man:

Yeah, I mean I think Zoom is a careful balance, right? And online learning is a careful balance, in terms of between that synchronous in-person learning, which is important. Being able to talk to a teacher live, be able to ask questions, have a teacher respond in the moment, those are all important things. But sitting there all day in front of a computer is also incredibly challenging, especially with students who have ADHD, who are, there’s energy and focus, et cetera, and that forum is not ideal. So that really finding a way to break up your day, to be able to get out, to be able to move, to be able to get away from the computer, but also find times that you’re going to be able to connect and get perhaps some individualized or personalized support is going to be really important.

Adam Man:

As we looked at that at Forman, we try to balance our days between time when kids are in a Zoom class with the teacher and their peers, times when they can work independently and hopefully not all of that independent work is on a computer, but other formats that allow them to not be sitting passively in front of a computer. And then also, really importantly, time for them to be able to connect with that teacher in some one-on-one fashion that is going to allow it to be a bit more individualized and personalized. And Forman realized, part of what we do is really the ability to pay attention to each individual student’s needs and it’s really hard to do that in a Zoom forum. You’ve got to find ways to be able to do that more in a one-on-one fashion so that you’re really paying attention to where the student is, what they’re doing, for students to be able to express, “This is what’s working for me, this is what I’m confused about, this is what I’m not working about.” and be able to adjust.

Adam Man:

From a school, we can create a schedule, create a program that looks like that. If you’re at a school that you would say that’s not really what it is, try to find ways to be able to break up your day, try to find ways where you’re interjecting activity, not just sitting the whole time in front of a computer and then have ways to reach out to people who can help you. And I think for some of our students, their parents are in that role. I think for many of our parents what they would say, “I could do that for so long and I’ve got my job to do, or I don’t remember anything about Algebra 2 and I’m not that helpful.” Or just the natural frustration that happens with your parent also sometimes being your teacher.

I mean, I think that’s one of the things that we would say we learned a lot about it at Forman is that we can play a role that parents often can’t play, right. Where we can tell a student, you need to do this or you need to stop doing this and we don’t have all the baggage of being their parent, right? Or we have more of that neutrality.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes. You don’t have the power play or the nag factor getting in the way.

Adam Man:

Oh gosh, no. No child is going to say to me, “Remember that time when I was six and you left me behind.” We don’t have that, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Right.

Adam Man:

I mean, your best interest is in my heart, but there is no baggage between us. We are on a level playing field.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. Tell us a little bit about who was Forman for.

Adam Man:

Sure. So Forman School was founded in 1930 by John Forman. And at the time, very little was known about learning differences, but he had the sense of he wanted to create a school for what he described as bright students who just weren’t reaching their potential. And John was a smart, smart man because he surrounded him with people who knew a lot more than he did. So one of the earliest advisers he brought on was Dr. Samuel Orton, who would create the Orton-Gillingham method. They were really surrounded by people who knew a lot and were thinking a lot about how people learn differently and that’s really what Forman is. We’re a school for students who are bright students, about a quarter of our kids are actually gifted intellectually, who being in a conventional school setting, in a traditional school setting, is not the right place. They need a place that’s more innovative, that’s more forward thinking, that’s more individualized to who they are. And as a result of that experience, it’s getting them ready for college. 100% of our students go on to university. They go on to lead lives in all kinds of careers.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

100%? I got to pause there. 100% go on to college.

Adam Man:

100%, 100%, absolutely. And go on and fill every different type of career field you could imagine.

And for us, it’s the sense of the students who come here, we’re saying to them, “We want to help you get to know yourself, who you are as a learner. What do you do well because there are probably things you do fantastically well and those are going to be the things that are going to take you the rest of your life. That’s going to be supporting your journey. There are things you don’t do well, like everyone. And so we need to help you figure out what those are. Help you build up your toolbox so those things don’t hold you back. Help you learn to be self confident, help you to learn how to advocate for what you need.” Because that’s the key. I mean, Ned, you know the statistics of how many students who qualified for some type of support or accommodation in high school, go off to college and never even ask for it.

They never even go by the office to say, “You know what, I need might need extended time or I might need the notes for this lecture.” They don’t use it in college and that is a recipe for disaster. And so, we need our students to realize, “You’ve got a lot you’re bringing to this conversation. You’ve got a lot you’re bringing to the table. But there are things, like all of us, we don’t do well and you need to be okay about being able to go forward and say, ‘This is what I’m going to need to be successful. And if I have these things, you’re not going to be able to hold me back.'”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And you really understand different learners. You really see the strength in it.

Adam Man:

Oh gosh, yes. I mean, absolutely. I mean, that’s the wonderful thing. I think if you look at what happens in most high schools across the globe, they really are tailored for a very small sliver of what would be adolescents out there, right? I mean, I think there’s very few students who say, “You know what? I’d like to sit all day passively, shift gears among subjects, kind of every 45 to 50 minutes, take in exactly what the teacher’s telling me and be able to give it back to them exactly the way they want.” I mean, I look at that and think, “I don’t know who that was designed for. I don’t know who that student is, but that’s somehow who we’ve imagined what our educational system should be.”

Forman is really looking at it and saying, “We know our kids are incredibly talented and they do amazing things here. They’re going to do amazing things later.” We have an incredible alumni body who has done amazing things. So it’s really tapping into each student’s strengths and really supporting them, letting them go to the nth degree in that era. But also helping them understand, “All right, here are things we can help you be better at. And here’s things that we can help you so that they don’t become hindrances for all the things that you are going to accomplish.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

It’s a wonderful school. And you have day as well as boarding, right?

Adam Man:

We do, absolutely.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. And what grades again?

Adam Man:

High school. So grades nine through 12.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Nine through 12, wonderful. It’s just one of the absolute best of its kind. And if you have one of those gifted different learners who have ADHD and dyslexia like me, consider Forman, a fantastic, fantastic school. Adam Man, head of Forman. Thank you so much for coming on Distraction.

Adam Man:

Thank you, Ned. I really appreciate it. It’s been terrific and we hope to see you again here when we’re not in quarantine.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes, I hope to come up. Please invite me and I’ll be there.

Adam Man:

Sounds great. Thank you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay, well, that will do it for us today. If you’d like to learn more about the Forman School, and I hope you will, go to Formanschool.org. And remember to connect with us, share your thoughts, questions, and show ideas by emailing us at [email protected]. We love hearing from you. We often devote entire shows to your questions, your comments, and certainly we create shows around the ideas you send us. So please, we’re growing and building community. We would love to hear from you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the illustrious and incredibly literate, Pat Keogh. And our producer is the constantly creative, always coming up with new ideas, Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell and thank you so very, very much for joining me.

Share:
5 Tips for Parenting in a Pandemic

5 Tips for Parenting in a Pandemic

Parents of children with ADHD we are thinking of you! Dr. Hallowell offers five ways to help you manage your kids while quarantined. These are simple things everyone can employ– like having set breakfast, lunch and dinner times. And they’ll work even if your kids don’t have ADHD.
As you’ll hear, structure plays a key role!
What are you doing to stay sane? Share your thoughts with us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Learn more about our newest sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD! Dr. Hallowell takes the supplement every day because it’s safe, 3rd party tested, and it works. Shop OmegaBrite CBD online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Do you know a high school or college student with ADHD or other learning difference? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe third party tested and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

And by Landmark College offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. Each week we’ve been putting out what we’re calling a mental health check during this pandemic. And today I’d like to address the specifically people at home with children who have ADHD, which I have myself. And give sort of a overview of the issue and then a few little tips that might be helpful to you.

You know people with ADD, we are born renegades. We like to run wild and run free. We are open prairie people. So our idea of hell is being cooped up, stuck in one place. Reined in. We hate rules. We hate being told what to do. The best way to get us not to do something is to tell us to do it.

So now, we’ve got this total terrible situation where we all have to stay indoors and we all have to play by really tough rules of not interacting, not going out and being cooped up. And so, the people with ADD particularly, nobody likes it, but people with ADD hate it. It pushes all of our buttons.

So the first tip if you will, is just to recognize that fact. If you have ADD, if your kids have ADD and you’re having to shelter at home, just be aware that that is a setup. That is a setup for all kinds of conflict, for anger, for tantrums, for breaking rules, for busting out. And try to acknowledge that amongst each other. Say, “This is real stressful for us,” and don’t be surprised when fires break out so to speak, when tempers flare.

So other than recognizing it, which is a big deal. Once you recognize something and name it, it’s a lot easier to deal with. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it’s easier. One really good tip is to structure your day. People with ADD need structure. We bristle at it, we push back at it, but we really want it.

Structure is like the walls of the bobsled ride. You know my analogy for ADD, a Ferrari brain with bicycle brakes. Well, structure strengthens brakes. And structure, contrary to popular belief, potentiates, enhances creativity. Far from repressing it, structure enables creativity.

And my two favorite examples are Shakespeare and Mozart. Shakespeare wrote everything in iambic pentameter. Bu-ba-bu-ba-bu-ba-bu-ba. All of his stories, iambic pentameter, blank verse, very structured. And yet within that structure he created infinite variety, the most beautiful poetry that’s ever been written in English.

And Mozart, the same with music. He wrote within very tight forms, very tight forms. But within that tightness he created unbelievable beauty and variety. So think Shakespeare, think Mozart when you’re creating structure. You’re not being a repressive schoolmarm at all. Without structure you have chaos. With structure you have potentially beauty, but certainly your chances at harmony, living at home, sheltering at home, are much greater.

So what do I mean by structure? Have a schedule, have a breakfast time, lunch time, dinner time. Have a project. Okay, your project Joey is to design the house you’d like to live in when you get to be 30 years old. Draw it on a piece of paper. And Sally, your project is to call grandma and grandpa and get their life story and start a grandparent book. And your project is to make sandwiches for lunch.

I mean give everybody a project. Or even better, let them design their own project. So the projects can be you make up your own or mom and dad will give you one. Either way but have them have a project, have them have a structure and have them have goals for the day. Structure is really, really important.

Another little tip is to have games. This is a great time for games, board games, charades, hide and seek around the house, have games. Games are also, it’s a kind of a project. And it engages the imagination, which is what you want to do.

A third tip is to allow for space. If you live in a place that’s big enough, try to let people go off into corners by themselves. This is not the time to force togetherness. This is the time to give permission for people to go off to their room, lie on their bed, read a book, veg out, what have you. Because that togetherness, you can reach a critical mass and the next thing you know you’re fighting with each other.

And then finally, expectations. Try to manage your expectations. So, you anticipate there will be conflict. And you anticipate, what Ross Greene calls, collaborative problem solving. Instead of issuing orders, you issue alternatives. Try this, that, or the other thing, and work out the differences that way.

So those five suggestions, add structure, play games, allow for space, create projects for everybody every day and manage your expectations so they’re in some concordance with reality and reasonable expectations. It’s a hard time, but it can also be memorable in a good way of closeness and learning how to get along during periods of stress.

That’s it for this mini episode. Before I go, I’d just like to thank our sponsor, our wonderful, wonderful sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. That’s OmegaBrite, O-M-E-G-A-B-R-I-T-E, intentionally misspelled. I take it every day along with their Omega-3 fatty acid supplement and I highly recommend them both. OmegaBrite CBD, was formulated by Dr. Carol Locke of Harvard Medical School. And her company OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years.

She’s really a remarkable woman and the work she’s done is truly outstanding. All our products are safe, third party tested and they work. I can tell you, I take them as does my wife as well. Please help support our podcast and check out OmegaBrite CBD online at omegabritewellness.com.

Okay. Remember to reach out to us with your comments and questions. We need them. We love them, we grow from them. They’re our mother’s milk. Reach out to us please with your comments and questions and thank you to those who have been sending in emails. We just love them. You have no idea how our eyes light up when we see a new email from you guys. We truly mean that. We love hearing from you.

If you have a question, a comment, or a show idea, anything, try recording your thoughts as a voice memo on your phone and then email the file to us at [email protected]. We really will absolutely read them all and mull them over and very likely do what you suggest. Unless your suggestion is for us to go jump in the lake. Well, maybe we’d do that when it gets warmer.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media and our recording engineer is the amazingly talented Pat Keogh. Our producer is the also amazingly talented, delightful Mary Poppins-esque, as I love to call her, Sarah Guertin. I am Dr. Ned Hallowell and thank you, thank you, thank you so much for listening.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe third party tested and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

Share: